ID as ‘Science of God’ (aka Theology)

A piece of mine has been just published in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s (ABC’s) excellent Religion and Ethics website.

It provides a larger context for my own theologically positive approach to ID, which I realize is not everyone’s cup of tea.

However, like Gregory Sandstrom, I welcome johnnyb’s intervention, which raises the issue of which companies an ID supporter would invest in (or not). I personally find the choices a bit on the Rorschach side of plausibility — i.e. it tells us more about the beliefs of the proposer. So Eric Holloway is happy to regard ‘gamers’ as ‘human’ in a way that has not been contaminated by the AI ideology of Kurzweil et al., so he doesn’t see their ‘gamer’ status as already inching in the direction of the Singularity. Whatever…

I don’t believe that such neat distinctions can be maintained under close scrutiny. Perhaps Kurzweil has slippery sloped us to a place where we don’t want to be, but attempts to draw a sharp distinction between ‘human’ and ‘artificial’ beg too many questions without further elaboration. There are people — I think of Susan Greenfield, the Oxford chair in neuropharmacology — who believe that gaming is re-wiring people’s brains so as to de-humanize them. I think she’s bonkers, and have said so publicly, but her attitude is emblematic of people who believe that you’ve left humanity even once you become a gamer. So where to draw the line? I don’t think there is a principled line to draw here. Anyone who believes otherwise is bound to kill the ID project with a moralism that comes from somewhere other than ID.

If we’re honest, the anti-ID people are right about one thing: Most ID supporters are really no more than anti-Darwinists in disguise, and would like to banish Darwin simply to allow their own moral and cosmological beliefs free rein. To be sure, these beliefs cover quite a wide spectrum but so far there is little appetite to discuss positive visions of ID, for reasons that range from the perceived privacy of religious belief to the fear of public opprobrium from a wider secular culture. My own view is that what makes ID potentially very exciting is that it puts discussion of God’s nature back in the center of science.

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116 Responses to ID as ‘Science of God’ (aka Theology)

  1. Steve Fuller,

    “own view is that what makes ID potentially very exciting is that it puts discussion of God’s nature back in the center of science. ”

    discussion of God’s Nature put in words of science (force, field, equation, measures) or religious (spirit, creator, all-see-hear-be-power) or filosofia (cause first, ground of being) or together all? thank you for response.

    sergio

  2. I don’t see a clear distinction between these, though stressing one side more than another may be useful for expository purposes in a given context. My main objection is to a strongly segregationist view (a la Stephen Jay Gould’s NOMA) that puts religion and science in separate modes of beings.

  3. I must have misunderstood. I thought it was a tenet of intelligent design that it made no claims about the nature of the designer.

    But Steve Fuller says, “My own view is that what makes ID potentially very exciting is that it puts discussion of God’s nature back in the center of science.”

    So the designer is the deity?

  4. The piece Steve links to clarifies what he means by making ID a theologically-based pursuit, and confirms (to me, at least) a thought I put in my blog on the significance of the difference between “theology” and “religion”. My post prompted a healthy discussion, but most seemed to skirt round the main point I was making.

    Steve’s theologically “monist” standpoint is that if God is like us only more so (his use of the “imago dei” motif), then ID is a field in which the very nature of God, and therefore of total reality, can be discovered. We can, potentially, work out what kind of “gamer” God is.

    His definition of the “Abrahamic God”, then, is essentially a shorthand for “the God of the Philosophers” – the image is taken outside of the actual context of the real Abraham’s God, who was apprehended through religion, not philosophy. “Abraham believed God (even when he couldn’t understand him) and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

    If the project is for humankind to overcome the false view of God’s “gamesmanship” brought upon us by the Fall, by reasoning and investigating to the correct view, then it stands a Universe apart from the way back from the Fall that God offered through Abraham, through Israel and finally through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.

    We rightly laud the role of Christianity in making science possible, by recognising the links between our reason and God’s – in Kepler’s (misquoted) words, “thinking God’s thoughts after him”. There can be no ID without that – nor any science either.

    But many of those early scientists (though not all) were tempted to ignore the other strand of Abrahamic faith, the one that says: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares Yahweh. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

    Without recognition of those limits to ID specifically, and human enterprise in general, it becomes part of what caused the Fall, rather than what redeems it. It’s Babylon, not Jerusalem.

  5. John Garvey posted this:

    “Without recognition of those limits to ID specifically, and human enterprise in general, it becomes part of what caused the Fall, rather than what redeems it. It’s Babylon, not Jerusalem.”

    Whatever limits there are to ID (and I leave it to its protagonists to explain what those limits might be), I am intrigued to know why the “human enterprise” is part of the “Fall”, which is a specifically Judeo-Christian idea. People from other cultural traditions might think you are blowing smoke.

  6. Lat time I looked, imago dei was a specifically Judaeo-Christian idea. If I’m blowing smoke, it came from Steve Fuller’s cigarette.

  7. You think your god is like you?

    How quaint.

  8. Didn’t you actually read the original post and link?

    How idle.

  9. re: Jon Garvey’s #6 – actually, I’d call it ‘intelligently designed’ smoke from a signal fire. The big question is: can Movement-oriented supporters of ID properly interpret this kind of communication?

    So far, News (Denyse O’Leary) just wants to negatively label Steve time and again with ‘agnostic’ as if he is ‘unknowing’. This is an IDM example of miscommunicating for a particular (if outwardly undefined) purpose.

    “Most ID supporters are really no more than anti-Darwinists in disguise…but so far there is little appetite to discuss positive visions of ID.” – Steve Fuller

    Aga – or as an Ewok from the Star Wars series would affirm – Yup, Yup (or Yub Nub)! Yes.

    There are IDM people who haven’t thought for a second about the difference and similarity between ‘human’ and ‘artificial,’ given their focus on OoL and origins of biological infomation, highly speculative fields that they are. Whereas technology and human enhancements are a real, nearby, relevant field for people, as computing, prosthetics, social media, etc.

    As I’m a member of the Star Wars generation, let me note that was a huge moment in film, when the character “ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader.” But of course, it would be devastating to suggest that Darth Vader was ‘intelligently designed.’ (Why? Because evil cannot be ‘intelligently designed’ according to IDM-ID, which thus far denies any open talk of ID theodicy!)

  10. Didn’t you actually read the original post and link?

    How idle.

    Yes indeed I did read it. That is why I asked this question:

    “But Steve Fuller says, “My own view is that what makes ID potentially very exciting is that it puts discussion of God’s nature back in the center of science.”

    So the designer is the deity?”

  11. Most ID supporters are really no more than anti-Darwinists in disguise, and would like to banish Darwin simply to allow their own moral and cosmological beliefs free rein

    Which prominent ID supporters are NOT like this?

    Do you think Stephen Meyer belongs in this camp? William Dembski, Michael Behe, Douglas Axe? Jonathan Wells, Phillip Johnson, Charles Thaxton, Casey Luskin?

    Which ID supporters are actually discussing “positive visions of ID”?

  12. The only thing that causes the de-humanization of man is sin; more specifically, the influence of it and the behaviour that results from it. I don’t see how gamers or companies that an ID supporter would invest in relates to “ID as Science of God”.

    The discussion of God’s nature will always orbit the center of Science until the mystery of God is revealed. Then, the discussion of God will be at the very center of Science and the topic of eternal life/immortality will no longer be science-fiction, but a reality which is made possible through the knowledge of ‘Intelligent Design’.

    This knowledge is contained within the Holy Bible.

  13. 13

    “Most ID supporters are really no more than anti-Darwinists in disguise, and would like to banish Darwin simply to allow their own moral and cosmological beliefs free rein”

    You fail to make the distinction of ‘to whom’ you point this positioning statement. Is it at the men and women who are actually trying to produce a result, or to the generic citizen who has become attracted to conversation? If you are pointing it at the former, then you have failed to demonstrate your point, and if you are pointing it that latter, then it is moot to the methodologies of ID.

    ID is concerned with making valid distinctions about material objects in this universe. It is not the goal of ID to culturally overwhelm the reductionist opposition, but to actually demonstrate they are wrong. If that struggle bores you, then perhaps you should point your interest in other areas. If you envision man’s relationship with a Creator as a potential area for your interest to follow, then by all means, knock yourself out. Meanwhile, the goal of ID will continue unchanged.

  14. Most ID supporters are really no more than anti-Darwinists in disguise, and would like to banish Darwin simply to allow their own moral and cosmological beliefs free rein.

    Definitely all anti-darwinists and neo-darwinists. But first and foremost, we want to banish them because they are just worse than useless.

    My own view is that what makes ID potentially very exciting is that it puts discussion of God’s nature back in the center of science.

    And for me even more exciting when we discover the designer isn’t “God”.

  15. Upright BiPed @ 13

    ID is concerned with making valid distinctions about material objects in this universe. It is not the goal of ID to culturally overwhelm the reductionist opposition, but to actually demonstrate they are wrong. If that struggle bores you, then perhaps you should point your interest in other areas.

    In a world where criteria for design inferences and irreducible complexities have been described with hard-to-argue-against rigor, I’d say that ongoing discoveries which show that those criteria must be applied to the living world are beginning to qualify as anything but boring. More like earth shaking.

    The point has been made by Johnson, and others long before I imagine, that one’s views about whether God “did it,” or nature “did it,” or something/someone in between “did it,” bear little upon scientists’ day-to-day conduct of their work. When and where, that is, said work is being carried out without metaphysical “spin.” Which, setting aside climate change, I would judge as “probably mostly.”

    Which means, for one thing, that cohorts of ID-convinced and fully-funded PhD’s in lab coats are not necessarily needed to move the debate ahead. And for another, that by putting its ideas into play, the ID movement has already accomplished no mean feat.

  16. 16

    “ID is concerned with making valid distinctions about material objects in this universe. It is not the goal of ID to culturally overwhelm the reductionist opposition, but to actually demonstrate they are wrong.”

    Exactly. However this idea is apparently too simple for many: objects designed by intelligent agents for a purpose have inarguable properties that differentiate them from objects produced by natural regularities subject to ordinary contingencies.

    I’d call that non-negotiable. It’s either true or it isn’t, regardless of anyone’s motives. Personally I’m really most interested in whether anyone, speaking on behalf of or against ID, believes it.

  17. 17

    “The point has been made by Johnson, and others long before I imagine, that one’s views about whether God “did it,” or nature “did it,” or something/someone in between “did it,” bear little upon scientists’ day-to-day conduct of their work.”

    Yes – nor does such have any effect on what is permissible to investigate. The straw man is that presupposing God’s involvement with reality precludes searching for how nature functions, or the nature of nature.

  18. Steve Fuller -

    I think you got it close but missed it. ID is a science of *mind*. That is, mind as a distinct causal mode. To the extent that God’s actions can be understood as “mind actions”, one could use the science of ID to understand God. However, there are many theologians who disagree with this, and, thus, for them, they could use ID just the same, but would disagree as to whether or not it applied to God.

    What unites them is the rejection of materialism – the idea that mind is equivalent to a complex configuration of matter. ID is the science of this. It takes extra-scientific reasoning to link ID to God – it is not included in the science. I think this move is perfectly valid – I don’t think that science corners the market on reason – but one must be clear what one’s reasoning is, and the extent to which each part applies.

    For example, ID could show that two species share a logical connection where they couldn’t show a historical one. Thus, there is evidence of mental causes. Absent other evidence, there are a variety of locations where one could place that cause – it could be God’s creation, it could be “the universe” (which is often used as a modern stand-in for a demiurge), it could be the organisms themselves, using some non-material aspect intrinsic to them, it could be external manipulators, such as human geneticists or alien geneticists. And, I’m pretty sure I haven’t exhausted the possibilities.

    The point is that Intelligent Design isn’t a science of God, but rather a science of mind. For those theists (such as myself) who view God’s actions as most correlating with those of mind, this leads to similar results. However, since I don’t limit God’s actions to those encapsulated by mental models, I don’t think it is wholly appropriate, though it can be insightful.

    For a look as to how one might be able to use ID in a more practical model of the human mind, you might check out my presentation two months ago on the subject.

  19. Steve -

    I agree with you entirely on Gould. NOMA is a terrible place to be. Another interesting approach, though, is to show the extent to which science has adopted the theological view, rather than the popular notion that science excludes the theological. I have given several examples of this in physics, biology, and medicine.

    It wasn’t just that theological views (like the orderliness of God and nature) played a role in the shaping of these disciplines, but rather specific content from religion has been used time and again in shaping these disciplines, and it would be helpful if people understood the extent to which theology informs science.

  20. What can we say about Dr. Fuller’s perception about the relationship between science, philosophy, and theology? Is it reasonable? In order to answer that question, we must consider reason’s rules about unity and diversity as they apply to multi-disciplinary analysis
    First, let’s discuss unity. Truth is, in fact, unified. Yes, there are many aspects to the one, unified truth, but only one truth exists. In that context, no single branch of knowledge can logically claim its own truth or even its own brand of truth. Science, philosophy, and religion each present smaller elements of a larger truth that cannot be divided. In large part, that is what it means to live in a rational universe. Given the principle of unity, any truths arrived at from one domain will always be compatible with truths arrived from another domain. Conversely, any apparent truth arrived at in one field must be false if it contradicts a known truth in another field. In principle, then, we must rule out any notion of “Non-overlapping Magistgeria,” which is, ultimately, an argument for multiple truths and against reason.

    Now, let’s discuss diversity. Each discipline, in order to maintain its capacity to arrive at one aspect of the truth, must remain true to its own methods. Philosophical methods (as opposed to philosophical principles) cannot normally (perhaps not at all) be used to arrive at scientific truths. Each discipline maintains its power to illuminate and provide specialized confirmation for the other only to the extent that it remains true to its own methods for arriving at knowledge. In making these distinctions between disciplines, then, we must refrain from the extreme of trying to separate them totally, as if one had nothing to do with the other, and from the other extreme of exaggerating their complementarity to the point of trying to merge their methods,

    The word to describe the relationship we are looking for is not the “separation of discinplines” or the “union” of discinplines, but rather the “intersection” of disciplines.” Sociology, for example, is not a totally different field of study from anthropology, nor is it precisely the same thing; each discipline intersects and overlaps with the other. It appears to me that Dr. Fuller wants to avoid the extreme of total separation (the error of saying science and theology are not related), by falling into the other extreme of total union (the error of saying that science can be theology), while ignoring the only reasonable option, which is ‘intersection” (science and theology are related). By suggesting that a faith-based methodology can be integrated with an empirically-based methodology as part of the same analytical process, he is proposing something that seems impossible to me. If he thinks such a combination is, indeed, possible, I would like to know how it can be done.

  21. 21

    In a world where criteria for design inferences and irreducible complexities have been described with hard-to-argue-against rigor, I’d say that ongoing discoveries which show that those criteria must be applied to the living world are beginning to qualify as anything but boring. More like earth shaking.

    …cohorts of ID-convinced and fully-funded PhD’s in lab coats are not necessarily needed to move the debate ahead.

    Hello jstanley,
    I certainly agree that the data is not boring. Yet there are those who have apparently become disinterested in the material nature of ID methodologies, and they mistakenly see no future in them. They instead wish to expand ID into theology, theodicy, etc. This is an amateur mistake. Those who support such transformations should study the nature of opposing force, and once having come to an understanding of the issues involved, they should then substantiate their objectives on those grounds.

    Re: “hard-to-argue-against rigor”. Howard Pattee (a materialist to the best of my knowledge) argued that life was matter controlled by symbols. That was forty years ago, and was built upon the observations of von Neumann, Turing, Polanyi, Crick, etc. Now, forty years later, using nothing more than logic and reason, it can be demonstrated that the transfer of recorded information (which makes all biological life possible) requires an irreducibly complex core of symbolic representations and rules. Given that these observations are made only at the level of matter, they can be performed without the slightest deviation from garden variety materialist reductionism. Having in hand these logical necessities, you can then turn to the material evidence, and lo and behold, again without the slightest ambiguity, are the aforementioned logical necessities fully instantiated in matter, operating just exactly as they must in order to accomplish what must be accomplished.

    These facts are ignored at the wholesale level by mainstream biology and physics. A subset of researchers, biosemioticians, are allowed to speak of them, but only if the disavow any connection to intelligent design – which they have done.

    ID needs all the PhD’s they can get.

  22. 22

    Hello johnnyb,

    ID is a science of *mind*.

    With all due respect, if I was your opponent (which I am not) I would likely call you on that comment. As an investigation of causes, that comment comes very close to assuming its conclusion.

  23. 23

    Yet there are those who have apparently become disinterested in the material nature of ID methodologies, and they mistakenly see no future in them. They instead wish to expand ID into theology, theodicy, etc. This is an amateur mistake. Those who support such transformations should study the nature of opposing force, and once having come to an understanding of the issues involved, they should then substantiate their objectives on those grounds.

    uhh, didn’t the ‘design’ argument develop from theological perspectives?

  24. Upright BiPed -

    Why? Chemistry is the study of chemicals and elements and causes. Does that “assume its conclusion”? ID is the study of mental causation. We study causes, effects, forms, structures, and the like related to mental causation. By knowing about what mental causes look like, we can then infer from evidence whether or not something was caused by a mental cause.

    To be a science, one must have an object of study. ID is the study of mental/purposeful causation. ID is properly a science because it has an object of study, and attempts to describe and characterize the activity of its object rigorously. I’m not sure how that’s controversial.

  25. John Kelley –

    How do you mean?

    There is an “argument from design” for the existence of God. It is also true that ID is one of the many inputs for this argument. However, the “argument from design” is not equivalent with ID any more than the argument from design is equivalent with physics (which it also uses) or designer clothing (which also includes design).

    Or did you mean something else?

  26. 26

    johnnyb,

    I was replying to Upright BiPeds statement:

    “Yet there are those who have apparently become disinterested in the material nature of ID methodologies, and they mistakenly see no future in them. They instead wish to expand ID into theology, theodicy, etc. This is an amateur mistake.”

    I don’t see how ID can be “expanded” into theology. Theology is essentially where the argument for the existence of God, from the perspective of ‘design’, came from. I look at ID as a view that has been expanded out of theology, not into it. If ID did not grow from ‘spiritual’ roots, then where did it come from? Definitely not from the Darwinian/materialist perspective.

  27. “If ID did not grow from ‘spiritual’ roots, then where did it come from?”

    As several people at UD have argued, it is simply an objective (follow the empirical evidence where it leads) naturalistic (looking in/at nature) neutral (for information) study, based on observations (of molecular, read: organic ‘machines’), that has *nothing whatsoever* to do with the personal religious beliefs or theology of those who founded/formed/invented it as a theory. This is said so that ID will not be viewed as a science of God (aka theology), but rather as a science of Nature.

    “I look at ID as a view that has been expanded out of theology, not into it.”

    Would the leaders of IDM-ID ever agree to support such a view or would they see it as necessarily compromising their natural science-only mission?

  28. These discussions always go the same way.

    Sociologist critic: Expand your science to include theology

    ID proponent: In what way?

    SC: Just do it.

    ID: No, you don’t understand. I am asking how one can integrate a faith-based methodology with an empirically-based methodology as part of the same analytical process. How is this even possible?

    SC: Just do it.

    ID: Can you at least tell me what the finished product would look like since I can’t conceive it? How can I honor your request if you will not tell me exactly what you want me to do?

    SC: Just do it.

    ID: At least tell me this: Would the new and improved ID retain its current paradigms, such as “irreducible complexity” and “specified complexity.” Or, would the new formulation displace these approaches?

    SC: Just do it.

    ID: Since it’s your idea to transform ID, why don’t you follow up and develop the new and improved paradigm yourself?

    SC: Just do it.

  29. 29

    “I look at ID as a view that has been expanded out of theology, not into it.”

    Would the leaders of IDM-ID ever agree to support such a view or would they see it as necessarily compromising their natural science-only mission?

    Maybe it depends on the amount of politician in them? haha. Honestly, I hope they could at least agree on where it came from…even the ID-opponents *know* where it came from.

  30. 30

    These discussions always go the same way.
    Sociologist critic: Expand your science to include theology

    ID proponent: In what way?

    SC: Just do it.

    ID: No, you don’t understand. I am asking how one can integrate a faith-based methodology with an empirically-based methodology as part of the same analytical process. How is this even possible?

    It is possible.
    But, if it is scientifically shown that ‘God’ is the designer, while at the same time and with the same methodology, it is religiously shown that ‘faith’ may contain some fiction, then what scientist would want to hear it and what theologian would want to believe it? It is a paradox…or the birth of a new paradigm…or both

  31. The important question is not where it came from, but what it is. And what it is, is a denial of where it came from.

    It allows its major proponents to publicly deny its historical roots, and it allows people to deny where it comes from personally.

    It’s “praise the Lord”, in many more words.

    I’m baffled that Steve Fuller, world renowned expert in human behavior/motivations, doesn’t understand that.

  32. –”It is possible.”

    I understand that the knowledge arrived at through religion is compatible with the knowledge arrived at through science and that each discipline can illuminate the other. I am, however, discussing the methodologies through which that knowledge is attained. A faith-based methodology, which is proper to theology, must begin with a religious presupposition and cannot, therefore, also begin with an analysis of data. An empirically-based methodology, which is proper to science, must begin with an analysis of data and cannot, therefore, also begin with a religious presupposition. Steve Fuller and Gregory appear not to be troubled by these differences. So, my question for both of these men is this: How does one answer their call to expand ID science into the theological realm, that is, how does one merge these two distinct methodologies (one moves forward from cause to effect and the other moves backward from effect to cause) into a single, coherent analytical process?

  33. Gregory wrote, about ID:

    “As several people at UD have argued, it is simply an objective (follow the empirical evidence where it leads) naturalistic (looking in/at nature) [*1] neutral (for information) study, based on observations (of molecular, read: organic ‘machines’), that has *nothing whatsoever* to do with the personal religious beliefs or theology of those who founded/formed/invented it as a theory. [*2] This is said so that ID will not be viewed as a science of God (aka theology), [*3] but rather as a science of Nature.”

    A few comments:

    1. “naturalistic,” in philosophy of nature and theology, does not mean “looking in/at nature”. It means “insisting upon exclusively natural causes.” ID is certainly not “naturalistic”. In fact, it has usually been accused of being the opposite — “supernaturalistic.” The latter charge is false, but the point is that even its worst enemies never accused it of being “naturalistic.” More accurate and less confusing terminology is desirable.

    2. ID proponents have never claimed that their investigations have “nothing to do” with their personal religious beliefs. They have claimed that *the validity of their arguments for design* does not rest on their particular religious beliefs. Thus, I would be very surprised if the religious beliefs of most ID people did not incline them to think that nature was designed; but their arguments do not ask the reader to share their religious beliefs. That Gregory cannot grasp the distinction between “motivation” and “argument” even though it has been explained to him many times, is a continuing source of wonder.

    3. ID is certainly not theology. It may be motivated by theological or religious beliefs; it may have theological or religious implications. But it is not theology. It is an argument for design in nature, and against the claim that complex, integrated biological systems arose through chance.

  34. 34

    “Steve Fuller and Gregory appear not to be troubled by these differences. So, my question for both of these men is this: How does one answer their call to expand ID science into the theological realm, that is, how does one merge these two distinct methodologies”

    It would also be of interest to those looking on, whether or not proponents of expanding ID to include a definite theological identity, first accept that design is a phenomenon unique to, and detectible by, intelligent agents; and that the qualities specific to intelligent causation can be objectively ascertained.

  35. 35

    Hi johnnyb,

    The difference between us is inconsequential – probably only related to what we are willing to defend. I am sure you would agree that to answer the question of whether or not design is detectable in the material world, would ultimate require you to distinguish whether or not design is even required in order to explain what we see. The counter argument is that design is an illusion, regardless of how much we observe designing minds. It seems to me that the focus should be on the matter, not the mental, and I don’t put a lot of stock in the idea that the causal influence of the mind is somehow grossly misunderstood by humans.

    I needn’t have said anything, so I retract my comment.

    - – - – - – - – - -

    Hello John,

    A major facet of ID is that it meets its opposition on their own evidence.

    - – - – - – - – - –

    LYO: “The important question is not where it came from, but what it is. And what it is, is a denial of where it came from”.

    Design was the default position for the vast majority of human existence. Now there is a socially powerful group that says “design is an illusion” while being very careful not to claim they have the observations which demonstrate this to be true. But either life was designed or it wasn’t, and throughout mankind’s entire time on Earth, men and women have chosen both to believe and deny it.

    So which question would you like to avoid most, LYO?
    The question as to how anyone might hold a position in 2012 that has no historical roots either way? Or, the question of whether or not it is even possible to transfer recorded information without the use of material representations and material protocols?

  36. 36

    Three comments:

    (1) The point of my piece at the ABC website is to deny what StephenB’s dialogue presupposes, namely, that theology is a ‘faith-based methodology’. That characterisation only becomes dominant after the First World War, largely through Karl Barth’s influence. Before that time, theology was as rational as any other academic discipline, which was an important reason why it ran into so many problems with clerics and ordinary believers. ID’s favourite theologian, William Paley, is a great case in point: He believed that God was an Ultra-Utilitarian: not the warmest message for the flock to hear.
    (2) Johnnyb’s (and other’s) description of ID as a ‘science of mind’ is a little strange since we already have a science of mind – it’s called ‘psychology’. Early on, psychology’s scientific footing was challenged by the need to show how mind interacted with/is expressed in matter. This problem remains if ID wants to call itself a ‘science of mind’: Clearly human minds (the clearest examples of minds that we have) didn’t cause life, the universe, etc. to come into being. Other candidates: Aliens? God? It’s hard to avoid this question, if you want to seriously engage with the fact that biological reality has a material basis.
    (3) Unless you have a general theory of intelligent causation, you won’t be able to tell the difference between ‘real’ and ‘apparent’ design. Dawkins solves the problem easily: Unintelligent nature produces merely apparent design, intelligent humans (occasionally) produce real design. ID’s refusal to deal with causal questions squarely limits its explanatory potential as a science. This is why ID needs theology to provide an account of the sort of intelligent causal agent that could produce the sort of ‘real design’ we observe in nature.

  37. Dr. Fuller:

    You’ve just said (36 above):

    “ID’s refusal to deal with causal questions squarely limits its explanatory potential as a science. This is why ID needs theology to provide an account of the sort of intelligent causal agent that could produce the sort of ‘real design’ we observe in nature.”

    I’m sorry, but I don’t think I understand your thinking here.

    Let me express my confusion in a “before” and “after” scenario:

    ****************

    Before (ID comes out of the theological closet):

    Steve Meyer argues, at a 2011 conference of world-class origin of life researchers, that unguided processes cannot have produced the first cell, and that therefore intelligent design was involved.

    The origin of life researchers say: But what sort of intelligent agent could have been around to produce the first cell?

    Steve Meyer is tongue-tied, because he can’t say “God”; so he mutters something about alien biochemists or time travellers. The scientists are unconvinced.

    **********************

    After (ID comes out of the theological closet):

    Steve Meyer argues, at a 2013 conference of world-class origin of life researchers, that unguided processes cannot have produced the first cell, and therefore that intelligent design was involved.

    The origin of life researchers say: But what sort of intelligent agent could have been around to produce the first cell?

    Steve Meyer, now liberated to talk about theology, says triumphantly: “God!”

    And the origin-of-life scientists, 90-95% of whom (according to polls) self-identify as agnostics or atheists, are now convinced, and ID moves into the realm of scientific respectability.

    *********************

    As one of the early science-fiction robots used to say, “That does not compute.”

    Dr. Fuller, are you actually telling the ID theorists that they should offer “God” as a *scientific* explanation for the origin of the first life? (Or, mutatis mutandis, of the evolutionary process?) And that you think this will *improve* their standing in the secular life sciences community?

  38. 38

    Timaeus,

    I hope you’re joking. Theology says a lot more about the nature of God than simply repeating the deity’s name. In fact, the idea of physical law was part of a solution the problem of divine governance in the 17th century. And Malthus’ views about population control — which Darwin secularised as ‘natural selection’ — was also part of a solution to the problem of divine governance, now in the late 18th century.

    Similarly, the phrase ‘natural selection’ also means very little by itself if uttered as a mantra but details then follow, much of it controversial, to be sure. Perhaps you can’t get the idea that God might be higher-order theoretical concept, like natural selection, that then generates specific hypotheses in specific cases.

    As for improving ID’s standing in ‘the secular life sciences community’, then I’m afraid it’s a bit late for that. If that’s your main concern, then simply change sides now. ID’s best bet is to become its own distinct scientific paradigm, and that may even mean inventing a new discipline that straddles the divinity school and the science lab. At least it’s worth considering.

  39. Steve,

    I’m trying to get a greater handle on what you’re suggesting here, so let me ask this.

    Would it be fair to say that your suggestion isn’t to merely redefine ID as a type of theology, but to actually – for the Abrahamic faiths (muslims, jews, Christians, etc) – declare the whole of science to be part of theological discourse and understanding in one fell swoop? So instead of, say… regarding scientific laws as these superficially metaphysically neutral concepts and principles, instead consider them to be exactly what Newton apparently did – as instances/aspects of design implemented by the Creator?

    In other words, utterly denying that science proceeds by methodological naturalism, and instead declaring science across the board – from the physical sciences to the social sciences – to be theology, complete with its own methodology/methodologies? Rather like countering “NOMA” by declaring that, instead of everything being under the authority of science, everything is instead under the authority of theology – including science itself?

    Am I close?

  40. 40

    Nullasullus:

    You put it a bit boldly, but yes. I actually think it simply amounts to resuming how the history of science would have likely proceeded, had Darwin the person never existed. I stress this point because a theologian (Malthus) invented the most striking feature of Darwin’s theory (natural selection) and theologians had no problem taking it on board until the First World War. However, Darwin as the icon of ‘losing faith through science’ has really been the sticking point — empowering the likes of Karl Barth and Richard Dawkins, in their opposing ways. Had Wallace or even Huxley come up with the theory we now attribute to Darwin, we wouldn’t be where we are now, with ID struggling to show that it’s ‘science but not religion’.

    Here’s the interesting sociological point: Religious believers would probably have a bigger problem with my proposal than practicing scientists. Religious believers are comfortable in their ‘fideism’ and like the idea that science can’t explain everything, and this is why they’re more than happy if ID just continues the Darwin-bashing campaign because then the believer can go on believing whatever they want without worrying about science knocking on their door.

  41. Steve,

    Now I see where you’re coming from – that answer helped. Perhaps more a little later, but thanks for the direct, no-BS response. Much appreciated.

    Very interesting.

  42. 42

    A faith-based methodology, which is proper to theology, must begin with a religious presupposition and cannot, therefore, also begin with an analysis of data.

    Yes, it can.

    An empirically-based methodology, which is proper to science, must begin with an analysis of data and cannot, therefore, also begin with a religious presupposition.

    Yes, it can.

    Steve Fuller and Gregory appear not to be troubled by these differences. So, my question for both of these men is this: How does one answer their call to expand ID science into the theological realm, that is, how does one merge these two distinct methodologies (one moves forward from cause to effect and the other moves backward from effect to cause) into a single, coherent analytical process?

    It’s already been done. They have already been merged.

    When, where, or how is the best way to go about demonstrating it?

  43. 3) Unless you have a general theory of intelligent causation, you won’t be able to tell the difference between ‘real’ and ‘apparent’ design.

    Read “Nature, Design and Science” by Del Ratzsch- we already have that methodology in place-> see archaeology and forensic science. Namely when agenicies act they tend to leave traces of their actions behind. And per Newton’s four rules of scientific investigation we can flesh those out.

  44. Here’s the interesting sociological point: Religious believers would probably have a bigger problem with my proposal than practicing scientists. Religious believers are comfortable in their ‘fideism’ and like the idea that science can’t explain everything, and this is why they’re more than happy if ID just continues the Darwin-bashing campaign because then the believer can go on believing whatever they want without worrying about science knocking on their door.

    Steve, your point is interesting, but in my view only partially true, though I endorse the interaction you had with nullasalus. “Fideism” and “faith” should be distinguished.

    JohnnyB was right to say above:

    It wasn’t just that theological views (like the orderliness of God and nature) played a role in the shaping of these disciplines, but rather specific content from religion has been used time and again in shaping these disciplines, and it would be helpful if people understood the extent to which theology informs science.

    One has only to look at examples like Kepler (lutheran), Maxwell (Church of Scotland elder), Faraday (Sandemanian elder) etc to show that many, if not most, of those actual practitioners of science who advanced it from a theological perspective did so from a position of deep personal faith, rather than from a purely theological/philosophical view of God as an explanatory principle.

    I doubt that any of these giants believed that science can explain everything – in fact, they would have argued (strongly) for humility in the face of God’s transcendence and their own sinful humanity at the same time as pushing the boundaries of knowledge as far as possible. They also sought not only true knowldege, but God’s glory.

    Without that humility, I think they would have claimed, the scientific enterprise would become as arid as the atheistic science that has come to dominate since Darwin.

    It’s a far cry from blind fideism.

  45. Steve -

    “The point of my piece at the ABC website is to deny what StephenB’s dialogue presupposes, namely, that theology is a ‘faith-based methodology’. ”

    I agree that theology is not a faith-based methodology, but neither is it strictly empirical. I think the problem is that we are missing a category of knowledge – precisely because of the overwhelming materialism present in today’s culture. Philosophy and theology need not be fideistic to be outside of science.

    “Johnnyb’s (and other’s) description of ID as a ‘science of mind’ is a little strange since we already have a science of mind – it’s called ‘psychology’”

    True and false. Psychology arose as a means of getting *out* of a science of mind. I.e. Freud’s goal was to explain it away in terms of materialism, rather than have a science of mind itself. In addition, psychology today primarily deals with affect, a closer link (though still mostly materialistic) would be cognitive science. In fact, my own ID conceptions show how to link mental and physical actions within cognitive models without being reductionistic. Eric Holloway, though currently only marginally successful, has been working on measuring CSI in human activity. In fact, Dembski’s book The Design Inference focused on human-caused design.

    So, it isn’t entirely improper to look at ID as subset of cognitive science if you were to expand them to include non-material causes. However, I would argue that cognitive sciences are focused on human mental processes, while ID is more concentrated on mental processes irrespective of their embodiment. In other words, I think of ID as an independent body of work, but one in which psychology and cognitive sciences would do well to incorporate.

    “Clearly human minds (the clearest examples of minds that we have) didn’t cause life, the universe, etc. to come into being”

    I always have trouble considering the cause of the universe as part of ID. That does seem to be very philosophical to me, precisely because we have no way – even in principle – of testing the origin of the universe.

    However, with life, there are many *aspects* of life at least which clearly could be caused by humans, and in fact are being caused by humans right now. We can witness the kind of deliberation and the kind of effects that humans have.

    Going back to what I said earlier, I think the biggest problem is that you are missing a category between fideism and materialism (in fact, perhaps several). What you are talking about is a philosophy of nature, which, as Ed Feser points out, cannot be based on the natural sciences. In fact, it’s interesting because Ed Feser’s criticism of ID is that it doesn’t work as an apologetic – which we agree with! One needs a solid philosophy of nature to do apologetics. ID is only one piece in the puzzle – providing a science of mental causes which is distinct from materialism.

  46. 46

    Jon Garvey:

    Yes, I agree that it may be that many of these scientists did not believe that science could solve all the problems of knowledge but they didn’t dwell on that fact, except to remind them of their fallibility. In fact, sometimes they even appealed to faith in a science-empowering way. My book — Science: The Art of Living (Acumen and McGill-Queens UP) — takes its epigraph from one such statement, by Norbert Wiener (the founder of cybernetics and a Unitarian): `Science is a way of life that can flourish only when men are free to have faith’.

    However, in the fideist mode, which is all too common today, faith is used as a science-stopper, often highlighting science’s many errors and missteps, seemingly to discourage the conduct of science, especially into certain religiously sensitive areas. A lot of what passes for ID — more on this blog than in the formal ID literature, to be sure — appears to have this character. In this respect, Darwinists are right to wonder what exactly lies behind ID beyond simply pointing out problems that the smarter Darwinists already know about — especially since ID people are so coy about offering there own alternative explanations (other than the term ‘intelligence’). However, clearly a fideist might be motivated to sabotage an overambitious science for purposes of ‘making room for faith’. The fideist might even have SJ Gould (courtesy of NOMA) as an ally. And I worry that much of ID’s current support base consists of such folks, who from a scientific standpoint turn out to be professional sceptics.

    However, to my mind, to place so much emphasis on human fallibility as to discourage scientific ambitions is tantamount to discouraging people to be as good as they can because they already know they can never be as good as Jesus. Again, this point follows from the idea of ‘univocal predication’: the difference between our qualities and God’s is a matter of degree not kind. It is always better to be better — and that includes knowing more.

  47. Dr. Fuller, John Kelly, and Jon Garvey I appreciate your attempts at a response, but you appear not to understand my question:

    [A] The theologically-based approach is to assume design and then reason forth on that basis, as is the case with Creation Science.

    ***ASSUME design >> and then harmonize the evidence to conform to that assumption (moving from cause to effect)

    [B] The science-based approach is to infer design as the best explanation only after having first examined the evidence and them coming to that conclusion, as is the case for intelligent design.

    ***EXAMINE evidence >> and then draw inference to design as the best explanation (moving from effect to cause)

    How is it possible to both ASSUME design (in which case the conclusion of design is a mere tautology since it was already embedded in the assumption) and INFER design (in which case design is the conclusion arrived at as the best explanation for the evidence) in the same analytical process?

  48. “They have already been merged”—John Kelly

    Show me how or where theological assumptions have already been merged with ID’s empirically-based paradigms of “Irreducible complexity” and “specified complexity.”

  49. Steve F: Thanks for the clarification. We’ve distinguished “faith” from “fideism”, which is important, I think.

    StephenB: Sorry I didn’t answer your question – it was because I was answering Steve Fuller, rather than you!

    But I’d agree with John Kelly that you seem to propose a false dichotomy.

    The kind of “theological assumption” Fuller seems to be advocating is along the lines followed by early scientists:
    * Since I believe the world is rational because I believe in a rational God, my attempt to “think his thoughts after him” should be rewarded, for the praise of God and the good of mankind… oh look, gravity!
    THEN (re ID):
    * Since both from that original presupposition and the natural conviction of our senses that the world is designed, the attempt to find empirical evidence for it should be rewarded… oh look, irreducible complexity!
    THEN (re Fuller’s version of Neo-ID, if I’m not misrepresenting him):
    * My presuppositions about God, which have now proven so fruitful in science generally and in design science, are a good basis for investigating the methodology and maybe implementation of that design (OPTIONAL: for the priase of God and the good of mankind).

    That’s to be distinguished from your Creation Science example, which would be: “Because I’m committed to a materially literal interpretation of the Bible, the task is to find ways to show that the evidence conforms to that view.” A different aspect (and quality, in my TE view!) of theology, a different aim, and a fundamentally different methodology, if only in the number of epicycles it demands.

    The drawback of your [B], as Gregory would hasten to remind us, is that it assumes that humans can operate impartially without any preconceptions, which is the rationalist fallacy. “We scientists are objective: you believers are subjective.” But in reality, if you’re committed to naturalism, a toaster found on Mars is evidence for the powers of chance, not the presence of design.

    Fuller points out (or if not him, Plantinga!) that naturalistic presuppositions are actually inconsistent with science, which operates on assumptions that arise from theism. So theistic presuppositions are both more reasonable, and more fruitful.

  50. –johnnyb: “I agree that theology is not a faith-based methodology, but neither is it strictly empirically- based.”

    The point at issue is this: ID’s design inference cannot begin with a theological assumption of design since its whole point is to argue the case for design–not to presuppose its presence. The historical references about theology’s influence on science are all true, granted, but that same dynamic cannot be applied to ID science. Otherwise, it will no longer be ID science. ID science cannot benefit by assuming its conclusion.

  51. John Garvey, thank you for your post. As theoretical examples for the positive influence of theology on science, you write:

    * Since I believe the world is rational because I believe in a rational God, my attempt to “think his thoughts after him” should be rewarded, for the praise of God and the good of mankind… oh look, gravity!

    Yes, this is a psychological motivation for doing science. It is not a metaphysical assumption necessary to, or appropriate for, science or the methodology of science. The assumptions of science are limited to the rules of right reason (law of causality, assumption of order, law of non-contradiction, legitimacy of math to measure, ability of language to communicate, correspondence of rational minds to a rational universe etc)

    * Since both from that original presupposition and the natural conviction of our senses that the world is designed, the attempt to find empirical evidence for it should be rewarded… oh look, irreducible complexity!

    Again, this is a psychological motivation. There is no metaphysical assumption about the presence of design or even the existence of God in the methodology, which always begins with an observation. The inference to design is based ONLY on [A] The metaphysical assumption of reason’s rules, and [B] is followed by an observation of evidence, from which [C] an inference to design is made. Irreducible complexity follows from the practice of allowing evidence to speak for itself. If you assume design as part of the methodology for interpreting evidence, then you cannot also follow the evidence to design in the form of an inference. To infer is to draw an inference about the general from a particular instance (THIS DNA MOLECULE provides evidence for design–it is not to begin with a general assumption about all DNA molecules (all DNA molecules were designed, therefore, so is this one).

    “THEN (re Fuller’s version of Neo-ID, if I’m not misrepresenting him):
    * My presuppositions about God, which have now proven so fruitful in science generally and in design science, are a good basis for investigating the methodology and maybe implementation of that design (OPTIONAL: for the priase of God and the good of mankind).

    It is a wonderful psychological motivation, but it cannot suffice for a metaphysical assumption or, equally important, provide the basis for a methodology, which is solely evidence oriented (again, except for the assumption of reason’s rules)

    Here is a list of the presuppositions of modern science from William Lane Craig

    “(1)The existence of a theory-independent, external world; (2) the orderly nature of the external world; (3) the knowability of the external world; (4) the existence of truth; (5) the laws of logic; (6) the reliability of our cognitive and sensory faculties to serve as truth gatherers and as a source of justified true beliefs in our intellectual environment; (7) the adequacy of language to describe the world; (8) the existence of values used in science (e.g., “test theories fairly and report test results honestly”); (9) the uniformity of nature and induction; (10) the existence of numbers”

    You will notice that there is nothing there about the assumption of God’s existence or anything about his designs. To assume any of these things as part of the investigatory process is to rule out the possibility of drawing inferences about design from the evidence.

    Again, I distinguish between a psychological motivation and a metaphysical assumption. The difference is critical.

  52. –John Garvey: “The drawback of your [B], as Gregory would hasten to remind us, is that it assumes that humans can operate impartially without any preconceptions, which is the rationalist fallacy. “We scientists are objective: you believers are subjective.” But in reality, if you’re committed to naturalism, a toaster found on Mars is evidence for the powers of chance, not the presence of design.”

    That some scientists are presumptuous doesn’t mean that all science is reduced to the rationalist fallacy. Again, there is a confusion here between, methods, motives, and preconceptions. In effect, you are saying that the scientist cannot divorce himself from his presuppositions long enough to let the evidence speak for itself. If that was the case, it would be impossible for the scientist to even isolate a variable in an experiment. (“You may think you isolated that variable, but you cannot really get it out of your mind. It’s still part of your methodology whether you like it or not so you might as well confess that there is no warrant for your conclusions.) On the contrary, the whole point of a methodology is to provide the kind of intellectual rigor that minimizes ideological intrusion and sloppy thinking.

  53. Steve Fuller -

    “However, in the fideist mode, which is all too common today, faith is used as a science-stopper, often highlighting science’s many errors and missteps, seemingly to discourage the conduct of science, especially into certain religiously sensitive areas.”

    I think you slightly misunderstand the goal. It is not to discourage the *conduct* of science, but to discourage the over-aggrandizing of science and the false certitude that often comes with science. Going to your next point, we can see that more clearly:

    “However, to my mind, to place so much emphasis on human fallibility as to discourage scientific ambitions is tantamount to discouraging people to be as good as they can because they already know they can never be as good as Jesus.”

    But you misunderstand the point. The point is when people boast in their own goodness, it is laughable on its face. It isn’t that we shouldn’t try to be good, it’s that when we mistake our goodness for perfection, and think that our mild goodness does anything but pale in connection with God’s, we are being irrationally presumptuous.

    So, I think a lot of what you read on this blog is not to discourage the *practice* of science, but rather discourage scientists from being irrationally presumptuous. I’m sure we go too far on occasion, but that’s only because of the constant bombardment of crass materialist presumption that occurs in the wider culture.

    G.K. Chesterton wrote that science was able to go so far because of its humility. Today, that humility is long lost, and the pride of the scientific community is causing its undoing. We want science to go forward, but we think that the proud and presumptuous manner that is currently taken is worthy of being knocked down.

    I think a good book which covers this is Robinson’s Absence of Mind. She laments the move of science from a careful, skeptical body of knowledge to one that is essentially one of materialistic ideology.

    I should also point out that this is one reason why ID is a “big tent” – we realize that there are a lot of ideas worthy of consideration, which needn’t be dismissed out-of-hand, nor propounded as if they were the absolute truth. That’s why ID’s set of propositions are so small rather than so large. It is a small (but growing) toolset meant to make small judgments. It is not a grand, overarching view of the world.

    As I said in a previous post, to get that, you need a philosophy of nature.

  54. “ID’s design inference cannot begin with a theological assumption of design since its whole point is to argue the case for design–not to presuppose its presence. ”

    There’s two levels of ID here – design in biology specifically, and design more generally. I think that ID *does* presuppose a reality of design. That is, there is something which we call “design” that can be described and characterized. We have to *know* that in order to even ask the question if biology has characteristics of design!

  55. Dr. Fuller (38):

    No, I wasn’t joking. Apparently you and I are eager to address such different points that we are not communicating.

    I’m fully aware of the historical relationship between Christian theology and the rise of modern natural science. (More aware than you could suspect, without knowing the real name and academic track record behind the Greek pseudonym.) I’m not challenging your historical and theological analysis. I’m making a different point, and one that you appear to be either entirely missing, or brushing aside without very much thought.

    I’m not at all trying to be sarcastic in saying what follows, but I have to be direct to make my point. (I’ve heard you speak, however, and I think you are thick-skinned enough to handle directness and not take it as a personal slam.) You have a tenured position in the sociology etc. of science. No matter what ID proponents who are chemists, biologists, astronomers, etc. do, your academic position and salary are secure for life. Now, your advice to young ID proponents, many of whom will be seeking tenure in their various fields over the next decade or so, seems to be this: “Be up front that ID is the scientific application of your belief in God! Say loudly that ID as a *scientific* endeavor *assumes* and *depends on* the existence of God, and even upon the Jewish/Christian doctrine of the *imago dei*. Don’t be afraid to say this at scientific conferences where you are reading papers in hopes of impressing potential academic employers. Don’t hesitate to speak of it during radio and TV interviews, in articles you submit to peer-reviewed journals, and in your covering letters for job applications. Grasp the nettle boldly! In the long run, it will work out better for you than if you continue to speak of design without speaking of the designer.”

    That’s what I’m hearing you advising the ID folks, on the practical level. If I’ve got that wrong, please correct me, but I can’t put any other construction on your words above (which you’ve stated on other occasions as well).

    Let’s look at a particular case in which someone did something like what you advised — went public, but only in a very mild and guarded way.

    Guillermo Gonzalez, a first-class astronomer, was denied tenure at Iowa State for being an ID proponent. (His detractors will argue differently, but they are mostly lying, and in any case certainly wrong, since it is now known, and even admitted by a least one department colleague with voting power, that his ID sympathies were a factor.) He never taught ID in his classroom, nor mentioned it in any of the 68 peer-reviewed papers he had in astrophysics and extrasolar planetary research. His citation record was higher than that of anyone in his department. But the fact that he had co-written a popular book on cosmic fine-tuning was enough to do him in. Even if that book had never been mentioned on his tenure application, it was well-known that he had written it due to a whispering campaign started by an atheist professor of religious studies (!) at his university.

    Gonzalez is now teaching in a little Christian college, with limited scientific research facilities, when he could have been teaching at a big state university.

    And Gonzalez, being American, lives in a country with a strong conservative Protestant ethos where there is a small network of alternate employment for Christian scholars and scientists who are cast out by the secular academy at the Ivy League and the big state and private colleges. ID proponents in other countries, Britain, Canada, Australia, etc., have no such “safety” net. In such countries, almost *all* universities and colleges are secular and mostly state-funded. If Gonzalez were a Canadian or Briton he would be driving a taxi or delivering pizza now, not teaching astronomy in a Christian college.

    Dr. Fuller, surely you as a sociologist are aware of how dissent is dealt with by communities (scientific, religious, whatever). So how do you respond to this?

    Is your advice the following: “Sure, there will be sacrifices. Some of you are going to lose jobs. Some of you will never realize your dreams of becoming biochemists, astronomers, biologists, etc. Some of you will have to switch fields and get an MBA or a degree in library science to make a living. Others of you will eke out a part-time living teaching scattered science courses here or there at several different colleges, commuting all over the place and having no permanent academic home from which to do research, and being too darned tired from all the excess teaching and commuting to doing any research anyway. But it’s worth it for the cause. A couple of generations down the road, your sacrifice will have altered the nature of science, to produce a more God-oriented science. Some have to be willing to suffer academic death so that the phoenix of a new theistic natural science can rise out of the ashes.”

    This, as far as I can see, is what you are telling all the untenured ID folks to do — to run an 80% or better risk of career suicide for the noble cause.

    As I said, I’m not trying to be sarcastic. I’m trying to be realistic. I’m three years older than you are, and I’ve been around universities three years longer than you have. I know academic politics extremely well. I know what scientists and other academics do to the lives and livelihoods of those who will not bend the knee to the reigning paradigm. I’ve seen careers and personal lives destroyed. That the odd exception, such as yourself, makes it through the obstacle course and gains a platform for expressing maverick views, does not alter the general case. So, unless you are promising to hire all the casualties at Warwick, isn’t your advice to young ID theorists both pragmatically and morally questionable?

  56. By the way, since we are talking about univocal vs analogical reasoning, I should point out a video on the Thomistic view of ID which was previously mentioned here on UD: The Independence and Proper Roles of Engineering and Metaphysics. I take a somewhat middle view on the question of univocal vs. analogical. I agree that the distinction between God’s actions and ours is worthwhile, but I think that as a describable action, they have equivalent effects. In other words, if I were 100% good, I would not be as good as God, for God *is* goodness. However, as a description of our actions in the “goodness” category in the world, they would perform equivalently.

  57. “They have already been merged”—John Kelly

    Show me how or where theological assumptions have already been merged with ID’s empirically-based paradigms of “Irreducible complexity” and “specified complexity.”

    I would submit an abstract if I knew where to… ID Conference Suggestions?

  58. Johnnyb:

    I don’t find scientists in as morally a fallen state as you do. In fact, a bigger problem is conformity to a wide range of institutional norms, both within and outside of science (e.g. private and public funding agencies), which create a herd mentality. If scientists were a bit more ‘presumptuous’, this might not be such a problem because then they’d disagree more openly with each other, and alternative trajectories for science would be more clearly exposed. So I don’t think presumptuousness as such is the real problem.

    Timaeus (whoever you are!):

    True, my tenured status factored significantly in testifying at Dover and then sticking with ID. I knew there would be long-term criticism even if ID won Dover. (In fact, most of my colleagues who knew what I was doing warned against it.) But I believe that academic tenure as such isn’t worth much if you don’t take such risky positions when the opportunity arises and you have something useful to say. So as tenure begins to disappear from universities, I only half-regret it. Too many academics don’t make good use of it.

    As for the vulnerable academics you mention, well, it depends what matters for them in the end. People may indeed need to make personal sacrifices but then the ID community needs to learn from and take maximum advantage of their fates – yes, very much like the martyrs in the history of Christianity. The movie Expelled did a great job on this point, but more such high-profile forms of publicity are needed so that at the very least people are made aware of the current injustices that exist in the institution of science. Reform won’t happen without publicity of events that draw attention to the need for reform.

    On the other hand, I don’t see much evidence of creating an intellectual revolution simply by keeping track of the other guy’s (in this case, Darwin’s) anomalies. Until ID has a proper theory of intelligence on the table (elements of which are around, largely through Dembski’s work), there really isn’t an alternative for people to get worked up about. Even the important philosophers who have supported ID to date – Nagel and Fodor – are more in it for the anti-Darwinism. They are generally sceptical of science’s ability to address the Big Questions. ID needs more positively based support.

    Strange as it may sound, the most practical way out would be to create ID science degree programmes, the curricula of which would be multi-disciplinary, perhaps with as much grounding information science and technology as in conventional biology. These programmes would need to be accredited by the usual authorities, which presumably would have in the usual way, through demonstrating proper textbooks and teaching methods. Maybe the US is too bigoted for this to realistically happen? I hope not. (Perhaps it could happen at a confident religious institution.) There is probably less to prevent this institutionally happening in the UK, except that the available personnel might not be so strong. And then you see how these ID-trained people are hired (in any case, only minority of science graduates are hired in academia).

  59. There is no problem with linking theological arguments with scientific evidence in order to make sense of the big picture. Rationality demands it. If Dr. Fuller was proposing such a link, and nothing more, I would offer no resistance. 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.” Truth is unified, which means that scientific truth will confirm Scriptural truth, and vice versa. So, yes, by all means, let interdisciplinary dialogue illuminate our understanding of the big picture.

    I think, though, that what Dr. Fuller is proposing is much more radical, and much less intellectually defensible than what I just described. If I understand him correctly, he is proposing that ID inject theological assumptions into its scientific methodology, which would certainly mark the end of the ID project and destroy any attempt to draw inferences about design in nature. Indeed, Aquinas’ philosophical arguments for the existence of God, which also begin with observations about nature and which DO NOT PRESUPPOSE GOD’S EXISTENCE OR DESIGNS, would also go out the window for the same reason. Aquinas (and ID) reason TO design not FROM design.

    Yes, new knowledge improves our overall perspective, as Johnnyb has indicated, but it cannot be made a part of the process by which we draw inferences from data any more than it can be made a part of the process by which we deduce a rational conclusion from a premise. The acquisition of new knowledge and our capacity to interpret evidence reasonably does not influence the immutable rules of right reason, the immutable rules of right reason define the standards by which we acquire new knowledge and interpret evidence reasonably.

    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 from data and ID science (indeed all science) is done for.

    What would happen to Big Bang theory or the argument for the “anthropic principle” if cosmologists and physicists assumed, apriori, that God created the universe. It would kill both theories overnight. Critics would object, rightly, that scientists were leading the evidence in the direction of their religious beliefs. Anthony Flew would have recognized the farce and would not have been persuaded in the evidence for design. It is one thing to encourage interaction between theology and science, recognizing the point of intersection at which each displays something in common with the other. It is quite another thing to blur the distinction between the two to the point where neither can play is proper role.

  60. 60

    Steve Fuller,

    Unless you have a general theory of intelligent causation, you won’t be able to tell the difference between ‘real’ and ‘apparent’ design.

    Having a “general theory” of intelligent causation is hardly an issue for an intelligent agent, and the difference in ‘real’ and ‘apparent’ design is made evident by the material in question. You simply have to ask the right questions, and sometimes the right questions take time to surface.

    Dawkins solves the problem easily: Unintelligent nature produces merely apparent design, intelligent humans (occasionally) produce real design.

    Dawkins doesn’t even address the problem, much less solve it. To “solve” the problem, Dawkins et al would have to observe the material evidence and point to a material distinction between apparent design and.real design. He cannot do that, and neither can anyone else. What Dawkins assumes in his ‘solution’ is the presence of recorded information within the genome. He assumes it by way of implying that genetic information is only analogous to the product of intelligence. But the existence of genetic information has material consequences with distinctive charateristics, and those exact same charateristics are found as the product of intelligence. He (they) cannot point to a distiction between the two because that distinction does not exist.

    ID’s refusal to deal with causal questions squarely limits its explanatory potential as a science.

    This comment is inconsistent with the reality that materialists simply assume the very thing that powers their wagon, while ID is forcing them to observe its limitations and qualities.

    This is why ID needs theology to provide an account of the sort of intelligent causal agent that could produce the sort of ‘real design’ we observe in nature.

    Really? ID can demonstate at a purely material level that the recorded information in the genome is not merely analogous to other “forms” of recorded information, but instead exhibits the exact same material consequences. Those material consequences demonstrate an irreducibly complex core which neccesarily includes two arrangements of matter which must be coordinated yet do not interact. Moreover, ID can demonstrate that it is specifically the arbitrary relationship operating within the system which determines biofunction. Finally, ID can pose the logical questions that demonstate that the system could not function in any other way.

    What part of these observations require theology?

  61. –John Kelly; “I would submit an abstract if I knew where to…”

    No need to go to all that trouble. “Irreducible complexity” and “specified complexity” are the two most recognizable ID methodologies. I am stating as fact that neither process relies on, or begins with, a theological assumption and that both begin with the observation of data. Since you disagree, I am asking you to provide some evidence in support of your counter argument.

  62. Dr. Fuller:

    Thanks for engaging.

    I agree with you that tenured academics need more courage. I have found them spineless in most cases, very much looking around the room to see where the herd is going before declaring themselves. (And I’m not referring just to the ID issue — I’m talking about everything.) I wish more tenured academics sympathetic to ID would speak out.

    However, I’m more concerned about the non-tenured academics. Most ID supporters, outside of the famous dozen or so, are younger folks, just now doing Ph.D.s in the life sciences, engineering, computer science, etc., or have just finished their Ph.D.s recently and do not yet have tenure; in some cases do not have even their first tenure-track job. Some of them have given themselves the kiss of death by being loud about ID while they were graduate students, even blogging under their own names. We know from the Crocker case that once one is let go due to ID sympathies, negative letters and unrecorded personal phone calls can follow one around, preventing one from getting scientific employment elsewhere. For those untenured ID people who have already made themselves public targets, this cannot be helped; but for those whose ID sympathies are not yet known, the safest way of disguising their sympathies is to write about living systems in terms of engineering systems lingo and information theory and so on, not mentioning God, and even, as far as possible, avoiding employing the word “design” in any published papers or conference talks. I think that your strategy of “let’s talk directly about God as designer,” while fine for tenured professors teaching history of science or history of ideas or religion and science, is an invitation to career suicide for any young would-be natural scientists.

    You point out that only a minority of science graduates are hired in academia. I assume that by this you mean that most Ph.D.s get jobs with private corporations, think tanks, NASA, and various government organizations. Let’s say that’s true. That still doesn’t make Ph.D.s immune from reprisal. The case of Coppedge at the Jet Propulsion Lab shows that it isn’t safe to talk favorably about ID even in a non-academic setting. The scientist who is freest to talk about ID, actually, would be the private entrepreneur-scientist, who runs a consulting business or manufactures something that the world needs, such as pharmaceutical products. Such a scientist can thumb his nose at what the official consensus of biologists is, because he draws his paycheck from his clients, not from academia or government. We need more ID scientists with such immunity.

    You suggest creating special ID-based science programs. A great idea, but, as the fable says, which mouse will bell the cat? No Ivy League or major private US university would touch that idea with a ten-foot pole; nor would any state university, since ID is linked (wrongly) with Biblical Creationism and hence potentially illegal to teach in state institutions. A conservative Protestant place, like Biola in L.A., might do it; but as everyone identifies Biola as a fundamentalist Christian school, that would just solidify the impression created by Dover that ID is religion and not science at all. The first question asked would be why ID science programs exist only at fundamentalist colleges, if ID is such good science. As for the Catholics, as long as they listen to people like Feser and Beckwith, they would never institute such a program at any of the universities or colleges that they control.

    Faced with this problem — the lack of any place where they can find institutional support or even institutional tolerance — most ID people seem to have adopted the strategy advocated by Behe: until you have tenure, keep you mouth shut and your head down. Don’t even talk about “design,” let alone God, until you have a permanent position.

    Can you blame them? If, back when you were looking for your first job, you had really wanted to publish a devastating critique of, say, Kuhn, but realized (due to your analysis of where the institutional power lay in the academic field of the sociology/philosophy of science) that your future employment as a sociologist/philosopher of science depended on never bad-mouthing Kuhn, would you draw public attention to any major disagreements you might have with Kuhn, in your dissertation, in a job interview, in published articles, etc.? Wouldn’t you instead reason thus?: “If I speak against Kuhn when I am powerless, I will be driving a cab, not teaching university, and therefore will have no influence upon my field of study. If I wait until I have tenure, I will be able to speak against Kuhn with impunity. So I will wait, and in the meantime put forward arguments more acceptable to the current consensus in the field. I can do more good as a fifth columnist within academia than as an unemployed martyr who can’t get anything published.”

    You could say: OK, but why don’t the ID people *with* tenure speak out more loudly? Answer: some of them do. Behe has taken abuse from the scientific community for speaking out, sometimes vile abuse. Minnich risked the wrath of the scientific community by appearing at Dover. But the fact is that very few ID people have tenured positions. Evolutionary biology, as a specialized sub-discipline of biology, is completely dominated by self-described atheists/agnostics (exceptions like Conway Morris are a drop in the bucket), and the whole academic culture of biology and biochemistry is overwhelmingly materialist-mechanist, as the biologists are still struggling with their 19th-century physics envy (even as the physicists, ironically, move away from materialism and mechanism). So the most likely place where one will find ID scientists speaking out is in the engineering and information science departments, where tenure, etc. is not awarded on the basis of obsequiousness to neo-Darwinism. If biologists are ever moved toward accepting design, it will be because they are forced to do so when their field is modified by ideas pouring in from engineering, computer science, physics, physical chemistry, etc., which blow away the “randomness” paradigm entirely. A biologist trained by Mayr, Ayala, etc. will never abandon the paradigm of his own free will.

    Finally, I agree with you that ID is more attractive if is more than just a reaction to the shortcomings of Darwinism. The problem is that given the current narrow understanding of “science,” and given the immense institutional power that this current understanding holds — control over graduating with a Ph.D., being hired, getting tenure, getting grants, etc. — it is hard to see what other ground the ID people, up to this point, could have fought on.

    I’m not belittling your efforts in your field to show the unsoundness of the current conception of “science” — and I salute your assault on the NCSE and its “methodological naturalism.” I agree with you that atheism and skepticism contributed very little to science in comparison with theism. Surely your efforts are part of the long-term solution, as are the criticisms of Nagel, Monton, Flew, etc. But *in the meantime* I don’t see what the non-tenured, and even most of the tenured, ID people can do other than what they are doing now, i.e., focus their attack upon the scientific weaknesses of randomness as an explanation for anything important in biological systems, and speak about design, when they do, in technical rather than religious or metaphysical language. It’s a slow-acting strategy, I know; but there is evidence that it is working. First Margulis said the ID people were right (not about ID, but about Darwinism); then, some of the Altenberg people; and now, Shapiro. It looks as if the Darwinists are going to lose their war, as the molecular biologists, physicists, engineers and computer scientists move in and take significant areas of biology out of the hands of the population geneticists (who are the neo-Darwinian die-hards).

    All this is to say that I think you should keep publishing on the Christian origins of modern science and on the usefulness of the design paradigm in real historical science; I’m questioning only your political/social advice to ID proponents. I think you need to contextualize your advice more, to take into account the institutional realities that ID people face, particularly in the USA.

  63. “I wish more tenured academics sympathetic to ID would speak out.” … “tenured academics need more courage” … “very few ID people have tenured positions.” – Timaeus

    To Steve Fuller: “I’m three years older than you are, and I’ve been around universities three years longer than you have. I know academic politics extremely well.” – Timaeus (in a fit of subjectivity!)

    I’m curious, Timaeus, do you not have academic tenure yourself? If not, then is this what keeps you from speaking publically about ID in the way that Steve courageously does and has done (e.g. Dover trial, journal & book publications, radio & multi-media, etc.)? If you do, then where can we read or see your pro-ID public works, since you are requesting courage from academics?

    Timaeus gives his advice to young scholars: “avoiding employing the word ‘design’ in any published papers or conference talks.”

    As a young scholar, I don’t see the need for this. Many people use the word ‘design’ regularly in published papers and conference talks. ‘Design’ is a common term used in various contexts without controversy or danger of being denied tenure (as the number of tenured positions left to be gained dwindles). Likewise, so is ‘intelligence;’ just not when associated with ‘intelligent design/Intelligent Design’ or the IDM.

    Leave out the IDM and ‘design’ looks quite different. But, of course we wouldn’t have IDM-ID without the DI and the IDM. So, we’re stuck in a conundrum!

    “A subset of researchers, biosemioticians, are allowed to speak of them, but only if the[y] disavow any connection to intelligent design – which they have done.” – Upright BiPed

    Exactly, and not just biosemioticians, but anyone who understands Movements realises the importance of labelling people and taking a label upon themselves. The IDM is a social, political, cultural, educational, legal (and sometimes religious) movement, based in Seattle, Washington. It is not just a scientific movement, though science is a crucial element of it. Any scientist, say, in the natural sciences, who would take on the label ‘IDer,’ must realise that they are also thereby accepting association with the goals of the IDM, many of which are extra-scientific. Textual scholars and historians of religion are in a somewhat different boat. Yet those who think they can avoid the politics by joining the IDM to ‘just do science’ are in a state of self-delusion.

    “I don’t see much evidence of creating an intellectual revolution simply by keeping track of the other guy’s (in this case, Darwin’s) anomalies. Until ID has a proper theory of intelligence on the table (elements of which are around, largely through Dembski’s work), there really isn’t an alternative for people to get worked up about.” – Steve Fuller

    Well said! And this is why a “general theory of intelligent causation” is so badly needed. The question is if DI Fellows are prepared or able to produce it. Paul Nelson admitted something similar to this as a criticism of IDM-ID a couple of years ago. Otherwise a non-IDM-based theory may serve as an alternative.

    One of the biggest problems as I see it here with Timaeus’ line of reasoning is his insistence on “standing in the secular life sciences community” and on ID properly belonging ‘necessarily in natural sciences’ (i.e. to the exclusion of theology).

    This reminded me of something Steve said not long ago here at UD: “There may be a sense in which the theological debate is a bit of a ‘dog whistle’ issue in the ID community – only certain people hear it.”

  64. nullasalus asked interesting questions and got a provocative response from Fuller.

    “instead of everything being under the authority of science, everything is instead under the authority of theology – including science itself”? – nullasalus

    Yes, as with Dr. Fuller, I also think that’s too bold. One might consider instead of NOMA (if that is what troubles you), the notion of ‘sovereignty of the spheres’ (‘souvereiniteit in eigen kring’) by Dutch philosopher (and former President) Abraham Kuyper, demonstrated in Herman Dooyeweerd’s ‘modal aspects.’ The ‘spheres’ (e.g. science, philosophy and theology) are engaged in dialogue and necessarily overlap in various places. But they also contain ‘sovereignty’ in their own realms of discourse, meaning, system, structure, core, organising principles, etc. Thus, the tendency of natural sciences to ‘talk down’ to philosophy, social sciences or theology is overcome in such an approach and balance among the spheres is enabled.

    In Steve’s work, this is expressed in “The Biological Challenge to the Social Sciences” (which of course, many natural science-oriented IDM-IDers aren’t interested to discuss).

    Dr. Fuller’s response to nullasalus acknowledged Darwin’s (naturalist) debt to Malthus (theologian). It is when ‘natural selection’ turns into ‘social selection’ or ‘ethical selection’ that problems with theology arise.

    Here is a quote that puts a cap on the theological objection Fuller mentions wrt WWI: “When the present war began, involving nearly all Europe in a terrible struggle, and this struggle assumed … a never yet known character of wholesale destruction of life among the non-combatants and pillage of the means of subsistence of the civil population, ‘struggle for existence’ became the favorite explanation with those who tried to find an excuse for these horrors.” – P. Kropotkin (1914)

  65. Gregory’s reading (64) is, as usual, fast and sloppy, rather than slow and careful.

    Above, he says that I tell young *scholars* to avoid the word “design” in their publications, and mentions himself as a young scholar who discusses design all the time. But I was speaking specifically of young *natural scientists*. A young natural scientist — certainly in the life sciences — who comes out and says that there is empirical evidence that all or any part of nature is designed has effectively terminated his scientific career, at least, in the secular academy. He will have to seek employment in private industry, in a Christian college, or in a privately-funded think tank. And Gregory has never uttered one word of protest against this situation. Nor have most of the people at BioLogos, who think it is good and right that design language be rigorously excluded from biological science.

    Of course, Gregory does not have to worry about this, because he will never be seeking employment in the natural sciences. But he would do well to remember the famous bit by Bonhoeffer: “When they came for the Jews, I did nothing to help, because I was not a Jew … (repeat with variations) … and then finally they came for me, and there was no one left to help me.” Some day, it may be that some dogma in current sociology, one that Gregory’s intellect and conscience will not allow him to subscribe to, will prevent Gregory from obtaining tenure. And, thanks to scientific hiring practices that he condones, there won’t be any ID people in the natural science faculty to stand up against the sociology department to defend his academic freedom. Then maybe he will remember how scornful he was toward ID complaints against the tyrannical monopoly of neo-Darwinism and anti-teleology in biology, and will regret that he uttered not a peep of protest against the permanent academic unemployment of some very fine Christian scientists.

  66. Yes, as with Dr. Fuller, I also think that’s too bold.

    Fuller didn’t say I was too bold. He said “You put it a bit boldly, but yes.”

    If Fuller thought my summary was incorrect, he didn’t seem to say as much. Steve, can you clarify? I thought we were clear on this, but Gregory seems to be indicating otherwise.

    To be honest, what I took your answer to be impressed the hell out of me, but now that’s being kicked up in the air again – I assume Gregory knows what he’s talking about, since you two cooperate on this subject? (Or so the impression is.

  67. “To the extent that God’s actions can be understood as “mind actions”, one could use the science of ID to understand God.” … “It takes extra-scientific reasoning to link ID to God – it is not included in the science.” … “Intelligent Design isn’t a science of God, but rather a science of mind.” – johnnyb

    Which mind? Whose mind? You can have no ‘science of mind’ without answering these questions. ‘Mind in general’ does not satisfy.

    “ID is the study of mental causation.” – johnnyb

    Which mental causation? Whose mental causation?

    I thought this was a good insight by John W Kelly:
    “I look at ID as a view that has been expanded out of theology, not into it.”

    Would not more ID people be willing to follow this line of thinking?

    Later, StephenB complained to sociologist critics: “Expand your science to include theology.”

    This would be unnecessary if John W Kelly’s advice were taken. It’s not about ‘allowing theology in,’ but rather about finding ways to express the theology that is already in ID.

    And I agree with Jon in #49 and his concise challenge to StephenB’s false dichotomy: “We scientists are objective: you believers are subjective.” As a social scientist, I’ve suggested here many times adding the term ‘reflexivity’ to the mix for assistance and mediation between these (objective/subjective) poles. This is part of the motivation for intertwining sciences with philosophy and theology (or worldview) because all of us have presuppositions we bring to the table, even when we try to do ‘objective’ science.

    “I hope they could at least agree on where it came from…even the ID-opponents *know* where it came from.” – John W Kelly

    Yeah, well let’s be honest with ourselves, right!

    “Otherwise, it will no longer be ID science.” – StephenB

    Otherwise the meaning of IDM-ID will change to no longer be a ‘science-only’ proposition; it will become seen properly as a topic addressed in science, philosophy and theology discourse. (Aside: if you contact me privately, I’ll share an idea about this with you.)

    “This problem remains if ID wants to call itself a ‘science of mind’: Clearly human minds (the clearest examples of minds that we have) didn’t cause life, the universe, etc. to come into being.” – Steve Fuller

    Yes, so if the main focus is OoL and origins of biological information (OoBI), then ID makes a leaping analogy from human intelligence to non-human intelligence. This is perhaps also why Mike Gene makes ‘Analogy’ one of his four criteria for what he calls ‘the design matrix,’ in his non-IDM-ID approach to ID. Take note, however, it is because he says “(natural) science can never truly detect design, even if it exists.” If I understand him, Mike’s approach to ID is more of a combination of natural and social sciences (‘because of us’), along with philosophy and (more recently) theology (‘because of us’) than is the current meaning of IDM-ID.

    “I always have trouble considering the cause of the universe as part of ID.” – johnnyb

    Well, that’s what Charles Thaxton had in mind when he coined the term ‘intelligent design’ and what Stephen C. Meyer’s main area of research is, so I guess you’ll have to take it up with them. That would be a place where you currently differ from IDM-ID.

    “There’s two levels of ID here – design in biology specifically, and design more generally. I think that ID *does* presuppose a reality of design.” – johnnyb

    Yes, of course it does. And I agree that it is helpful to distinguish specific design from general design. As I wrote in the Human Extension thread; it doesn’t seem IDM-ID is currently interested in a ‘general design’ approach because it avoids so much of the ‘design theory’ literature that it deems irrelevant to ‘design in biology’ or ‘design in nature.’ General design is not only limited to ‘nature-only’ and “positive visions of ID” are possible in humanitarian spheres.

    “ID needs theology to provide an account of the sort of intelligent causal agent that could produce the sort of ‘real design’ we observe in nature.” … “ID’s best bet is to become its own distinct scientific paradigm, and that may even mean inventing a new discipline that straddles the divinity school and the science lab.” – Steve Fuller

    Will we hear some positive suggestions from ID people about this? Or just more anti-Darwinism and anti-Darwinian evolution protesting? What would creating such a ‘new discipline’ potentially look like?

    “However, with life, there are many *aspects* of life at least which clearly could be caused by humans, and in fact are being caused by humans right now. We can witness the kind of deliberation and the kind of effects that humans have.” – johnnyb

    Yes, exactly. Welcome to an ‘alternative way to look at ID!’

  68. nullasalus, please be more charitable than Mr. ad hom Timaeus.

    I didn’t say your summary was ‘incorrect.’ I said ‘too bold,’ which only slightly differs from ‘a bit boldly.’ Then I went on to explain why I thought so.

    If you want to call it ‘kicking up in the air,’ that’s fine. I’d call what I wrote offering you an alternative viewpoint that could potentially contribute constructively to the conversation. Not even Kuyper would submit to “everything under the authority of theology – including science itself.”

  69. nullasalus, please be more charitable than Mr. ad hom Timaeus.

    You know, you guys would have a far more profitable conversation if this kind of sniping would stop. Honest to God, Timaeus is smart, you’re smart. I know know what crap’s gone on between you two in the past, but does the pettiness have to come out in each and every interaction?

    If you want to call it ‘kicking up in the air,’ that’s fine. I’d call what I wrote offering you an alternative viewpoint that could potentially contribute constructively to the conversation. Not even Kuyper would submit to “everything under the authority of theology – including science itself.”

    Then we’ll see if Fuller agrees or disagrees. I asked him pretty plainly, he seemed to give me a direct answer that lined up with what I’m saying. I recall that once upon a time theology was regarded as the queen of the sciences. It seems like Fuller wants to return to those days.

    Maybe the man goes further than Kuyper dares, eh?

  70. Know know = don’t know. I’m tired and eating dinner, that’s my excuse.

  71. Honestly, Timaeus!

    You wrote: “young ID proponents” who “will be seeking tenure in [their] various fields” and “young ID theorists” (#55). I don’t see “young scholars” as a big stretch, worth rubbing my nose in it. Can you give it a break and get in the spirit of mutuality?

    For goodness sake, I was at the DI’s summer program, for ID in the Humanities and Social Sciences. They warned us at the opening banquet (togther with students in the ID in the Natural Sciences section) to do exactly what you’re still doing; to write under pseudonyms, keep anonymous, etc. Do you not allow me the right to disagree with you?!

    Now, in case you are sincere about engaging in friendly dialogue, my questions to you remain:

    I’m curious, Timaeus, do you not have academic tenure yourself? If not, then is this what keeps you from speaking publically about ID in the way that Steve courageously does and has done (e.g. Dover trial, journal & book publications, radio & multi-media, etc.)? If you do, then where can we read or see your pro-ID public works, since you are requesting courage from academics?

    Fear-mongering and complaining about how things simply *can’t* be done (because the system is against us!), isn’t going to solve any real problems here.

  72. Thanks for your attempt to mediate, nullasalus. I posted #72 before reading your #70.

    In regard to Steve’s response to you #40, I appreciated it too. If he decides to respond to your #67 or #70, I’ll be as curious as you to hear his thoughts.

    Thought I was adding to the conversation (didn’t you like the Kropotkin quote?). I’m not trying to put words in Steve’s mouth and do support his “theologically positive approach to ID” and the notion of “positive visions of ID,” which may differ from the IDM’s current approach.

    I have not been impressed with Eric Holloway’s attempts to move ID into economics, capitalism, technology and other ‘non-traditional’ IDM-ID fields. As Steve said at the start: Whatever…

  73. –Gregory: “It’s not about ‘allowing theology in,’ but rather about finding ways to express the theology that is already in ID.”

    There is no theology in ID. It is an empirically based methodology. To repeat the misrepresentation often is, I realize, a tactic calculated to transform reality into something more congenial with your wishes, but alas, facts are facts.

    Meanwhile, my question for SF, GS (and now Johnnyb, I suppose) persists: How does one draw an inference to design if one also presupposes design?

  74. It is others as well, StephenB, who view a ‘theologically positive approach to ID.’

    “I look at ID as a view that has been expanded out of theology, not into it.” – John W Kelly

    Perhaps that deserves your commentary also? It’s not as simple as the ‘facts are facts’ (empiricist) approach you have chosen to take.

    “How does one draw an inference to design if one also presupposes design?” – StephenB

    Which design? Whose design? To answer this, I’ll need to go back to questions remaining open on the Human Extension thread. (Time is short and the Olympics are on!)

    The simple answer to your question is: one doesn’t (need to). As I wrote there already, ‘artefacts’ are by definition (i.e. presupposed to be) ‘designed’ so you don’t need to apply a ‘design inference’ to them according to what you currently call ‘the ID methodology’.

  75. Gregory- to determine whether or not an object/ structure/ event is an artifact is where the design inference is applied.

    After you determined it is an artifact is when you start the other questions- who, what, when, where, how and why

  76. To StephenB #51:

    Doesn’t William Lane Craig conclude from the assumptions you listed that the existence of the Abrahamic deity is the best explanation for their JOINT truth? In other words, God is the meta-assumption that grounds exactly those assumptions which are necessary for science. Now you might have some other candidate meta-assumption for that role, in which case a debate is possible. But in any case, God is at least as much metaphysics as psychology in the justification of science.

    To Nullasullus #67:

    What I said in #40 is what I meant. However, I don’t think that the theology that results from what I’m saying will necessarily be palatable to ordinary believers. Generally speaking, when theology moves away from pastoral concerns and in a more ‘academic’ or ‘scientific’ direction, it ends up in strange places from a strictly religious standpoint. Paley’s natural theology ends up in Malthus, the historico-critical school of German academic theology gave us Feuerbach and Marx, etc. For his part, the great liberal theologian Harnack (mentioned in the ABC piece) was so keen on purging historically unnecessary features of Christianity that he ended up junking the Jewish heritage as pagan, which unwittingly later gave momentum to Nazism’s so-called ‘Positive Christianity’.

    These cautionary tales from the history of ambitious theological inquiries is perhaps why people find Thomas Aquinas so attractive – basically as a sophisticated NOMA strategy that segregates each mode of thought into its own mode of being, so that neither naturalism nor spiritualism (or intellectualism) are given free rein. I find this the least satisfactory of all the theologies because it seems so obviously constructed to keep the peace between potentially conflicting parties. It perhaps also explains why, despite its enormous influence, Thomism has played a relatively small (positive) role in the advancement of science. Its natural role is as a curator rather than a progressor of thought.

    By the way, all of this history is very important for ID to recover for itself because at the moment ID often seems to relish the caricature its receives from Darwinists who treat it as an upstart movement invented by the Discovery Institute that will somehow coalesce into a new science over time. On contrary, ID has been with us throughout the entire history of science, and is arguably its dominant metaphysical strand. As I said earlier, in many respects, ID is simply resuming the history of science, had the person of Darwin not existed.

  77. –Gregory: “Perhaps that deserves your commentary also? It’s not as simple as the ‘facts are facts’ (empiricist) approach you have chosen to take.”

    The inference to the best explanation is empirically based. Alternative causes are proposed for the observed effects and one is chosen as the best candidate. We observe patterns in nature and then we explain them. That is what it means to be empirically based.

    –”The simple answer to your question is: one doesn’t (need to). As I wrote there already, ‘artefacts’ are by definition (i.e. presupposed to be) ‘designed’ so you don’t need to apply a ‘design inference’ to them according to what you currently call ‘the ID methodology’.

    Not really. We observe artifacts that we know to be designed and we notice that they contain certain features. We find those same features when we observe organisms and conclude, therefore, that design is best explanation. That is not a presupposition of design as the cause of this or that organism, it is the presupposition that design exists as a possible cause. There is a big difference between those two meanings of “presupposition.” To presuppose something in a formal sense is to assume it as the beginning of a line of argumentation. ID doesn’t do that. It doesn’t assume that a DNA molecule is designed; it draws that inference from evidence.

  78. Dr Fuller:

    “Doesn’t William Lane Craig conclude from the assumptions you listed that the existence of the Abrahamic deity is the best explanation for their JOINT truth? In other words, God is the meta-assumption that grounds exactly those assumptions which are necessary for science. Now you might have some other candidate meta-assumption for that role, in which case a debate is possible. But in any case, God is at least as much metaphysics as psychology in the justification of science.”

    Dr. Fuller, Yes, I think it is reasonable that WLC would “conclude” that the Abrahamic deity is the best explanation for their joint truth (those ten presuppositions of science). Of course, if he is drawing a conclusion based on those assumptions, then the conclusion cannot also be those same assumptions. We both seem to agree that God’s handiwork is evident in nature, and also that God’s existence can be demonstrated through rational arguments, as was the case with St. Thomas. Still, though the Angelic Doctor believed in God, he did not presuppose God’s existence when he was in the formal process of making his case. That would be assuming his conclusion. On the contrary, he begins with the observation of regularity or order in nature and then reasons back to God—Regularity>>Order>>Orderer. If he had begun by presupposing the orderer, then he would have proven nothing. Similarly, he does not reason FROM a first cause, he reason’s TO a first cause.

    The Bible uses the same argument. “The invisible things are made evident by the things that are seen (Romans 1). These passages constitute a philosophical argument rather than a theological argument: St. Paul’s purpose is to provide a rational foundation [the "natural theology" of God speaking in nature] for the leap of faith into the Christian religion [the "dogmatic theology" of God speaking in Scripture], insuring that the latter is grounded in the former and is, therefore, reasonable. In other words, we can, unaided by faith, infer the existence of God from nature prior to our leap of faith into the Christian religion, which is another way of saying that the Christian religion, though it transcends reason, is also compatible with and grounded in reason and, therefore, can be rationally defended.

    That means that we can confidently allow our faith to illuminate our reason because it has first been made legitimate by having passed the test of reason. Put another way, the leap to the Christian faith is reasonable because the evidence for God’s existence requires no leap. This is why we don’t want to totally separate faith from reason. No other religion submits itself to, much less passes this same test of reason, which means that all other religious leaps are irrational.

    Because faith and reason are compatible, the latter can provide independent verification for the former. Yes, I “believe” that God is good and rational, but my reasoned investigation of His natural world, especially the evidence for rational design and purpose, strengthens what I believe precisely because my acquisition of that knowledge was arrived at through a process that is distinct from the act of believing. I believe that God designed the universe (cause to effect) and I can detect his handiwork (reasoning from effect to cause).

    With ID science, I think the same dynamic is in play. Sure, as a Christian I believe (and know beyond a reasonable doubt) that a DNA molecule was designed. It should be obvious to any rational person. At the same time, I cannot persuasively argue for design on that basis because Darwinists and Theistic Evolutionists, who typically have no respect for reasoned philosophical arguments, will say, ‘it isn’t obvious to me.” To that we can responds, ‘let’s find out what nature has to say for herself.” That is where ID’s empirical arguments come in. Of course many who reject St. Thomas’ reasoned philosophical arguments will also reject iD’s reasoned scientific arguments because they would simply prefer not to believe them. But, we do what we can do.

  79. StephenB (79):

    Well argued.

    I have no problem with Dr. Fuller’s position if he is saying that *one* legitimate ID approach, for a Christian, is to start from the assumption of design by God and do science on that basis (reason from cause to effect).

    Where I have a problem with his position is that he seems to be arguing — and I’m not sure that he is, because I don’t find him explicit on this point — that ID should *stop* reasoning from effect to cause, i.e., should stop trying to prove to atheists etc. that things are designed. Sometimes I hear him as saying: “Just forget about convincing the atheists; assume God, assume design, and get on with the science.”

    I think that *both* approaches remain valid. As you point out, Aquinas’s Five Ways don’t assume the existence of what they are trying to prove. And Paley’s arguments — the best ones, I mean, since he also made some weak ones — don’t assume the watchmaker exists, but rather argue from the existence of the watch that the watchmaker exists. I think ID people must continue to argue in this way, as long as “science” is being used to argue the opposite, i.e., that there is no design, that it can all be explained by chance.

    That doesn’t stop *some* ID proponents from simply ignoring the atheists, and assuming design based on revelation, and doing their science accordingly. In the setting of, say, a conservative Christian college, a scientist can do exactly that. But a scientist can’t do that at Harvard or Stanford. He first has to convince his hardboiled atheist/agnostic colleagues that design is a reasonable inference from the facts of nature, without any appeal to revelation.

    So it seems to me that Dr. Fuller’s approach, while historically warranted (Newton, Boyle, etc.) and workable in Christian institutions, is only half of the strategy needed. ID is trying to address not only Christians but also agnostics and atheists.

    Paul Nelson teaches at Biola, so he could, if he wished, employ Dr. Fuller’s strategy, and base a biological research program entirely on creationist assumptions. (I’m not saying he has done that, but he could.) The same is true for ID supporters teaching at Bob Jones, Liberty, Oral Roberts, etc. But Mike Behe teaches at a secular university in Pennsylvania. He can’t employ that strategy; he would be blocked by his colleagues.

    But more important than any of these political considerations is the very basic intellectual consideration that if something is true, one should be able to convince anyone of it, even an atheist or agnostic, provided the atheist or agnostic is not dogmatic and does not have a chip on his shoulder (as the New Atheists do). Thus, we see atheists and agnostics of various types who are either convinced by ID arguments, or at least open to them, because they are reasonable (Berlinski, Flew (before ID won him over he was an atheist), James Barham, Monton, Nagel, Dave Scot, etc.). It seems to me that Dr. Fuller’s approach would mean giving up trying to reach these people, because they are not Christians or theists and therefore don’t share Abrahamic assumptions. But I think that would be a huge mistake.

    I’m not interested in being part of any ID movement that is sustained only by enclaves of Bible-quoting scientists teaching exclusively in conservative Protestant colleges. I’m interested in ID only if it has a wider intellectual appeal, because only then can it be part of a general cultural renaissance, as opposed to a view that survives only because it is protected in conservative Christian ghettos. If ID is true, it doesn’t need such protection. It should be able to stand on its own two feet in the general culture, with wide-based support not only from fundamentalist Protestants but from educated Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Anglicans, Lutherans, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, Deists, agnostics, liberals, conservatives, Republicans, Democrats, men, women, the old, the young, Americans, Europeans, Asians, etc.

    When ID argues from effect to cause, suspending for the sake of argument the assumption of the existence of God, it allows itself to be heard in the general intellectual culture, which is deeply skeptical about the existence of God. It must continue to do that, even if it also sometimes takes the approach recommended by Dr. Fuller.

  80. Steve,

    You don’t have to convince me that academics start to get loopy when they’re on the campus too long. Hell, you’d probably have to convince me of otherwise.

    These cautionary tales from the history of ambitious theological inquiries is perhaps why people find Thomas Aquinas so attractive – basically as a sophisticated NOMA strategy that segregates each mode of thought into its own mode of being, so that neither naturalism nor spiritualism (or intellectualism) are given free rein.

    This doesn’t seem accurate. In fact, I’d argue that the Thomists do something extremely similar to what you’re advocating. For them, Thomism/Aristotileanism is the lens through which all other data is viewed, including scientific. Granted, Thomism isn’t axiomatic, but reasoned to – but the Thomists I’ve read would probably laugh at the suggestion that they think naturalism should “be given free reign”, as if naturalism is okay over here in this area (the scientific area), but beyond that area it’s not. They leave no place for it.

    Granted, what they may do is say that metaphysics is distinct from science – and it is. But the result is a NOMA that would have been alien to Gould.

    It perhaps also explains why, despite its enormous influence, Thomism has played a relatively small (positive) role in the advancement of science. Its natural role is as a curator rather than a progressor of thought.

    The thomists I’ve read would dispute this. Feser himself argues along the lines that science, whether or not scientists are consciously aware of it, relies on largely Thomist/Aristotilean concepts. In The Last Superstition, one of the most interesting points raised by Feser is that some supposed ‘naturalist’ explanation of (say) the mind are either incoherent or, if interpreted in a coherent fashion, are just rewarmed Aristotileanism anyway. Granted, you’d probably disagree with some/all of this, but they do dispute it.

    By the way, all of this history is very important for ID to recover for itself because at the moment ID often seems to relish the caricature its receives from Darwinists who treat it as an upstart movement invented by the Discovery Institute that will somehow coalesce into a new science over time. On contrary, ID has been with us throughout the entire history of science, and is arguably its dominant metaphysical strand. As I said earlier, in many respects, ID is simply resuming the history of science, had the person of Darwin not existed.

    I’m skeptical of locating the problem with Darwin, but I agree with what I take you to be saying here otherwise.

  81. 82

    To StephenB and Timaeus:

    I’m a little surprised that so much heavy weather is being made about the scientific method. ‘Evidence’ (a term that is analysed to death in the philosophy of science, which is the field in which I was formally trained) is never something that speaks for itself. When Paley found the watch on the heath and inferred a watchmaker, he wasn’t doing science yet. He only started to do science when he theorized why he made that inference and then tried to generalise it to non-trivial cases (i.e. non-watches). That’s science, and it’s more-or-less captured by the hypothetico-deductive method.

    Talking to dogmatic naturalists/Darwinists/atheists about the so-called evidence for design is fruitless because they can always explain it (perhaps ‘away’) in their own theoretical terms. Ultimately the debate with ID has nothing to do with evidence but with theoretical differences that can only be resolved if you could get both sides to agree on a test case that bears equally on both sides – i.e. one can’t be right unless the other is wrong. That’s what Bacon and Popper called a ‘crucial experiment’. If you can’t get that, then you either have to pursue your own theoretical research programme or wait until the other guy can’t pursue his anymore and then is forced to search around for an alternative.

    So if ID wants to advance its fortunes as a science, the strategy is quite simple (in conception!): institutionalise a parallel scientific establishment and try to dislodge the dominant one. This means creating scientific journals, networks, degree programmes and links to funding sources, most probably private. Meanwhile you also campaign for the disestablishment of public science funding bodies insofar as they display bigotry towards ID. And the relevant intellectual activity must occur on two fronts, not just the laboratory but also the archive – ID needs to be written back into the history of science for both academic and popular consumption. And this latter task also involves deconstructing recent scientific work, showing that research that Darwinists claim as their own (perhaps because they personally hold Darwinist beliefs) may be explained just as well, if not better, by ID means. Once scientific journal articles wander from discussing data generated from their own research into ‘larger implications’ (typically in the introduction and conclusion), they often veer onto speculative ground that can be easily challenged and should be.

    To Nullasullus:

    Thomists are indeed ‘naturalists’ – but in the sense that Aristotle was, not Epicurus. Thomists believe that nature has its own form and that things have their own natures. (Epicurean naturalists aren’t committed to such a front-loaded view of nature, hence their affinity with the indeterminacy of modern scientific materialism.) But the Aristotelian idea that things have natures is precisely the sort of metaphysical baggage that the history of modern science has gradually done away with. The only scientific race in which Thomists still have a horse is so-called ‘human nature’, which is relevant to a whole host of issues relating to the politics and science of biomedicine. Many people who otherwise would quite happily junk talk of ‘natures’ (as in the ‘nature of trees’) as merely figurative still take seriously the idea that there is some metaphysically fixed sense of ‘human’ that might be called ‘human nature’. But as that intuition fades, then – as you point out vis-à-vis Feser – the only thing Thomists will have to say is that scientists always already presuppose the metaphysics of natures even when they don’t know about it or even outright deny it. Small beer, I say.

  82. Steve,

    But the Aristotelian idea that things have natures is precisely the sort of metaphysical baggage that the history of modern science has gradually done away with.

    Again, their reply is that no, this has not been done – not with evolution, not with the biological sciences, and not even with physics. Maybe you disagree, and it may well be the case that the Thomists are wrong. But the arguments Feser and company have given on this front are ones I find compelling, and their depiction of science is hard to deny. In fact, I should think this is one area where you’d agree with the Thomist – that we have to view science in light of our philosophy and metaphysics.

    But as that intuition fades, then – as you point out vis-à-vis Feser – the only thing Thomists will have to say is that scientists always already presuppose the metaphysics of natures even when they don’t know about it or even outright deny it. Small beer, I say.

    Well, then it’s beer you’re drinking as deeply as Feser and the Thomists are. Really, look at your own argument: you want to put science ‘back onto the track it was on prior to Darwin’, and where you apparently think it deserves to remain. But right now, it’s not on that track. Does science itself run counter to an understanding you have, or that is demanded by your metaphysics and theology? Not at all – it’s not “science”, it’s the confused view of people interpreting science. But the Thomists help themselves to the same exact line.

    The only real difference is – putting aside your nominalism – the Thomists treat science as something we need to rely on our metaphysical views in order to interpret. You want to make that interpretation “science” itself. Kind of a rival science. And hey, I admire that. Hell, with some caveats (I think this should happen alongside ID, not in replacement of it) I support it. But really, you’re closer to the Thomists and company on science than you seem to be admitting here.

  83. Timaeus @80, good points all. I support the same kind of open-mindedness that you are proposing. It matters not to me whether the reasoned arguments are coming from a faith-based perspective or an empirically-based perspective, from a theologian or a social scientist. What matters to me is a respect for truth and the resolution to honor it insofar as we can know it. No doubt science and humankind would be far better off if everyone assumed that God exists and that we are all made in his image. As you point out, though, we must be prepared to argue both ways, from cause to effect and from effect to cause. We can’t take people from where they are if we can’t first go where they are.

  84. Dr. Fuller:

    Thanks for your further reply in 82.

    “institutionalize a parallel scientific establishment”

    Well, to some extent ID is doing this, with the BioLogic Institute, with its research and its peer-reviewed journal, BioComplexity. But that move has nothing to do with the main point we have been discussing, i.e., the theological difference between *assuming* a creator-God and hence design (your approach) and trying to *infer* a designer from the facts of nature (the mainstream ID approach).

    “links to funding sources, most probably private”

    Right again! And ID has been making use of such sources, because it can’t get public funding. But of course the restriction to private sources puts ID at a huge disadvantage. Neo-Darwinism, through its use of the public university system existing in virtually all countries, can extract money from the taxpayers’ pockets to fund endless studies that “confirm” it; ID has no such gun at the head of funding sources. Because of this, ID can manage only one or two research institutes around the world, perhaps two in the USA or one in the USA and one in Britain. And these will be constantly attacked by the secular scientific establishment as “religiously-driven institutions”; places like the NCSE will try to track down the funding sources, will try to prove that YECs are the main donors, etc. The science, however good, will be set aside on the ground that the motivation is religious.

    So I’m not disagreeing with your proposals, but ID is in an unenviable position. And if it explicitly adopts theism as its working assumption, which you are recommending, that would scare away the few private secular funding sources it has now, and would allow its foes to ratchet up the “ID is religion not science” rhetoric.

  85. Dr. Fuller, thank you for taking the time to respond. I fully agree with your statement, “evidence is never something that speaks for itself.” For my part, evidence must be interpreted reasonably, which brings us back to the metaphysical principles that define the standards for reasonableness–i.e. reason’s rules.

    Accordingly, ID aims at appealing to reasonable people and only reasonable people will respond favorably to reasoned arguments. It is to them, more than the Darwinists and TEs who are often impervious to reason, that I direct my comments. So I often spend time at this site reminding everyone, both friends and adversaries, that rational discourse begins with rational standards. The trick, I think, is to communicate with those who still have open minds. Typically, Darwinists (and TEs), many of whom reject these standards (often never having heard of them) simply cannot be reached. Both groups tend to violate the principle of “unity of truth” [manifested by their support for NOMA and Methodological Naturalism]. NOMA implies an irrational universe in which a scientific truth could be at war with a metaphysical/theological truth. Methodological Naturalism implies human minds incapable of handling the truth. Only irrational people who fear reasonably interpreted evidence would propose such things.

    The problem, then, as you point out, is not just the evidence but the problem about how people think or– more to the point– how they don’t think. On the other hand, these foundational principles are not that difficult to apprehend. Another principle, a corollary of the law of causation, would be that an effect cannot surpass the cause. Yet another rule would be the correspondence theory of truth. Darwinists and TEs carry on as if these foundational principles for sound thinking were either unimportant or not true. They want to avoid objective standards and establish arbitrary rules in order to avoid reason’s scrutiny. We need to make these points, from time to time as an exercise in remedial education.

    Reason’s rules apply to methodology as well. Empirically-based methodologies like ID, for example, begin with observation. So if someone like our friend Gregory claims that ID begins with a religious assumption, or when he uses phrases like IDM-ID, which are obviously conceived to conflate motives with methods, it doesn’t resonate so well with us. This tactic appears calculated to reframe our reasoned arguments into unreasonable and easily-refuted strawmen. At that infamous Dover trial, Judge John Jones, mistakenly and maliciously, used the power of the state to say essentially the same thing, ruling that ID is “an interesting theological argument.” So we tend to bristle a bit when that kind of nonsense gets recycled in the name of constructive criticism.

    I am intrigued by your suggestion that we should institutionalize a parallel scientific establishment. The question in my mind would be if we have the kind of leader that would be inclined to mobilize a group effort toward that kind of a common goal. Still, the ID of coalition building appeals to me.

  86. 87

    #86 Empirically-based methodologies like ID, for example, begin with observation. – StephenB

    There are physical forms that a person could point to and say they were ‘Intelligently designed’, but could they show the material ‘Intelligence’ of the design? No.
    So why is the word “Intelligent” even used in conjunction with the word “Design”? Is intelligence just assumed? How did the word “Intelligent” enter our vocabulary if noone has ever observed a piece of it? The word must be associated with something…

    #26 I look at ID as a view that has been expanded out of theology, not into it. – John W Kelly

    I do not believe that the empirically-based methodology of Intelligent Design began with observation (unlike Natural Selection). I believe it began with revelation, which could be considered a ‘faith-based’ methodology. The type of revelation that I’m referring to comes from a heightened mental awareness of the invisible workings of the visible world. An awareness which reaches a point to where perception is directed into understanding. From that understanding, ‘truth’ is revealed, which in-turn produces a strong personal belief. From a directed effort that is based on a ‘vision’ of something that is ‘true’, an empirically based methodology arises. If the methodology is successful, it will confirm the belief, not the observation. The belief is Intelligent Design.

    (sorry if this post seems rough around the edges…it’s way past bedtime.)

  87. To Steve Fuller-

    Right now all IDists want is to have scientists conduct scientific research and be able to reach a design inference if the data and evidence so warrant such an inference. The point being is that the design inference has been taken off the table wrt biology and cosmology. And that is plain wrong given what we do know about materialism- ie it is untestable spewage.

  88. Also I just want to say that science was at one time was the way to understand God’s creation, but not God. Understanding God came from scripture.

  89. –“John W. Kelly: “I believe it began with revelation, which could be considered a ‘faith-based’ methodology.”

    A methodology is simply a series of steps. It is a checklist to help the researcher discover what the evidence is saying.

    –“ The type of revelation that I’m referring to comes from a heightened mental awareness of the invisible workings of the visible world.” An awareness which reaches a point to where perception is directed into understanding. From that understanding, ‘truth’ is revealed, which in-turn produces a strong personal belief. From a directed effort that is based on a ‘vision’ of something that is ‘true’, an empirically based methodology arises. If the methodology is successful, it will confirm the belief, not the observation. The belief is Intelligent Design”

    Everyone brings biases, prejudices and beliefs to the table. They are irrelevant to the ID methodology, which is the same basic process used by SETI researchers archeologists, and forensic scientists. The purpose of examining the evidence is to test those “awarenesses” of design against reality—to find out if they are illusions or whether they are likely based in fact. A DNA molecule contains Functionally Specified Complex Information. That is a fact and has nothing to do with the researcher’s mental preparation. That is why Anthony Flew (and other atheists), who had the opposite “awareness” finally accepted the testimony of the evidence for design.

  90. 91

    StephenB,

    When you say “faith-based methodology” in reference to examining evidence or conducting tests, are you referring to “Creationism”?

    “Everyone brings biases, prejudices and beliefs to the table.”

    True.

    “They are irrelevant to the ID methodology, which is the same basic process used by SETI researchers archeologists, and forensic scientists.”

    False. They guide the very creation of the ID methodology, which is the same basic process used by SETI researchers archeologists, and forensic scientists .

    “The purpose of examining the evidence is to test those “awarenesses” of design against reality—to find out if they are illusions or whether they are likely based in fact.”

    From an ID perspective, the purpose of examining the evidence is to test for “Intelligence” (the cause) in order to confirm “Design” (the effect). This requires an understanding of the Intelligence, not just an awareness of design. Opponents of ID have awarenesses of design, but those awarenesses are merely illusions because an active designing intelligence, outside of the mind, doesn’t exist.

    “A DNA molecule contains Functionally Specified Complex Information. That is a fact and has nothing to do with the researcher’s mental preparation.”

    But ID still asks the question: “Is it an ‘intelligent’ design?” Whereas another researcher’s mental preparation may not allow him to do so.

    What all of this points back to is that there exists a line of inquiry (ID) that begins from an attempt to understand a form of guiding intelligence…not just an assumption of it. Everyone brings biases, prejudices and beliefs to the table, but it is those things that direct the development of empirically-based methodologies.

    Was/is “Theomimesis” the catalyst of ID methodologies? I believe so.

    “My own view is that what makes ID potentially very exciting is that it puts discussion of God’s nature back in the center of science.” – Steve Fuller

    Yes!

  91. –John: “(Beliefs) They guide the very creation of the ID methodology, which is the same basic process used by SETI researchers archeologists, and forensic scientists.”

    Whatever beliefs that might have guided the creation of the process are not part of the process itself. The process itself begins with observation. If you think that it begins with something else, tell me specifically what you think that something else is and provide concrete evidence for your claim. Describe, for example, any design detection process, provide the rationale for inferring the design, and explain the role that belief played in drawing that inference.

    –”Opponents of ID have awarenesses of design, but those awarenesses are merely illusions because an active designing intelligence, outside of the mind, doesn’t exist.”

    Show me how you think that works. I designed the above paragraph. You are, I trust, aware of the design. Is it an illusion of a designed paragraph or is it a real designed paragraph? Does my active intelligence as the designer not exist because it is outside your mind or does your active intelligence as the design detector not exist because it is outside of my mind. Take me through it.

    –”Was/is “Theomimesis” the catalyst of ID methodologies? I believe so.”

    Why do you think that “Theomimesis” was the catalyst of ID methodologies?

  92. StephenB, you’re committing ‘observationism’ – the idea that ‘observation’ determines everything. Sure, observation is one part of (as you call it) ‘the process,’ but it is not everything.

    “Whatever beliefs that might have guided the creation of the process are not part of the process itself. The process itself begins with observation.” – StephenB

    Life itself comes before observation and does not depend on it. As I highlighted in the Human Extension thread, A.N. Whitehead inverted ‘extension’ (read: ‘creation’) and ‘process’. He believed you could have a process before an extension (or creation). You’ve similarly been fed by a fallacy, StephenB.

    “From an ID perspective, the purpose of examining the evidence is to test for “Intelligence” (the cause) in order to confirm “Design” (the effect). This requires an understanding of the Intelligence, not just an awareness of design.” – John W Kelly

    Yes, exactly.

    And I agree with John W Kelly’s support of Steve Fuller’s idea of ‘theomimesis’ as the true foundation of ID (whether theory or so-called ‘methodology’ = Explanatory Filter + ?). When it views nature as ‘divine technology,’ that is exactly what IDM-ID is hoping to do.

    What IDM-ID still isn’t doing, however, is working on a ‘positive vision of ID’ which would mean not just ‘reverse engineering,’ but also ‘forward engineering.’ That is something the IDM via the DI has yet to satisfactorily confront, to any degree comparable with what Fuller is doing with transhumanism and Humanity 2.0. So, ethics and values and beliefs and meanings and purpose and plan and dream are non-IDM-ID, since IDM-ID (as StephenB and Timaeus represent it) is focussed strictly on ID-as-natural-science, when the presuppositions of (transcendental) Mind are clearly driving it.

  93. GS:

    Pardon a note.

    Empirical observation is linked to concepts about the correspondence of our senses and cognitive abilities and the world in which we live. However, there is a sufficiently wide base of experience and a sufficiently general consensus that we can start from that as a datum

    In that context, we then use empirical observations as a progressive, open-ended constraint on theorising and modelling, i.e. while scientific investigations cannot guarantee truthfulness, we can require empirical reliability. That does allow us to falsify such theories as are empirically unreliable, and reduce to model status such as have limitations (e.g. Newtonian dynamics).

    It is in that context of inductive inference to best explanation as frame for theorising and discovery, as well as testing, that the design inference operates.

    Namely, we have on best explanation anchored on a broad and reliable base of observations, that systems exhibiting FSCI where we directly observe the causal process consistently come from choice, purposeful contingency, i.e. design. This is backed up by analysis of the needle in haystack challenge; similar to how the second law of thermodynamics is backed up.

    In this context we are entitled to infer that such FSCI is an empirically tested, reliable sign of design as cause. Where, in particular, we are talking about digital code, algorithms expressed in such codes, and the like. These things are well known on a vast base to be products of design.

    The shocker is that we are also seeing hem in the molecular foundation of cell based life. No wonder there is no empirically well supported wholly materialistic, blind chance and necessity account for the origin of life. Just so stories, hand-waving, appeal to statistical miracles and gross exaggeration — it is beyond extrapolation — of results that do not begin to approach the threshold of complexity joined to specific function.

    That is why SB can freely separate the scientific discussion from the more philosophical questions about how we get to such a mind in such a world.

    Phil sets a context for sci, but sci does not normally spend its time debating phil questions.

    We have a place to note the significance, but he main issue is as stated above.

    I trust this will help refocus the debates towards a more balanced context.

    KF

  94. “Phil sets a context for sci, but sci does not normally spend its time debating phil questions.”

    Right, they are two over-lapping, but not exclusive realms. So, Origins of Life in your views is strictly a scientific topic, question, problem, challenge, having *nothing* to do with philosophy?

    “we have on best explanation anchored on a broad and reliable base of observations, that systems exhibiting FSCI where we directly observe the causal process consistently come from choice, purposeful contingency, i.e. design.”

    Systems “where we directly observe the causal process” are human systems. Systems where choice and ‘purposeful contingency’ are observed are human systems. Biological information is not a human system, neither is the Origin of Life and thus we don’t observe the causal process there.

    “why should our intelligence be taken as a guide to intelligence in things we had nothing to do with creating?” – Steve Fuller

    Nobody has given a satisfactory answer to this at UD, nor even made an attempt.

  95. GS:

    We have been over much of this ground before.

    OOL is generally studied in a scientific context and the scientific methods are well known.

    We do NOT merely observe the origin of human engineered systems. As has been discussed at length here recently [also cf this UD ID founds series post], beaver dams — arch and gravity based on stream conditions, are a clear case of functionally specific complex organisation, which implies associated information. (It can be reduced to it by making a nodes and arcs reduction which can be coded in structured strings similar to the representations used for engineering drawing software.)

    In any case, we are fully entitled to infer that anything that can exhibit the sort of creative behaviours humans do that are deemed intelligent would properly be recognised as such too. That is, even if we did not have beavers etc in hand, the objection fails as begging as big question: it implicitly assumes that only humans are recognisably intelligent.

    In any case the pattern of inductive inference is not properly to humanity but to intelligence. For just one instance, not any and every human being can configure bits and pieces of copper, silicon, plasticised paper or glass fibre etc to make a functioning computer. Nope, only those of highly specific knowledge and skill. In short it is intelligence not humanity that is the proper target.

    When we look at the DNA-RNA-enzymes etc system and how it makes proteins, we see nanotech digital systems at work, using a different technology but implementing a plainly algorithmic digital system, One that is well beyond the credible reach of chance and necessity on the gamut of the observed universe.

    Absent the ideological a priori of evolutionary materialism, there would be no debate that we have here found a strong signature of design. So much so that question-begging redefinitions of science in the teeth of history and the principles uncovered by phil of sci investigations are having to be imposed to preserve the reigning orthodoxy by judicial fiat. If you doubt me, here is the NSTA of the US, on what it wants to teach kids in school in the name of science (backed up by courts a la Judge John “Copycat” Jones):

    The principal product of science is knowledge in the form of naturalistic concepts and the laws and theories related to those concepts . . . .

    Although no single universal step-by-step scientific method captures the complexity of doing science, a number of shared values and perspectives characterize a scientific approach to understanding nature. Among these are a demand for naturalistic explanations supported by empirical evidence that are, at least in principle, testable against the natural world. Other shared elements include observations, rational argument, inference, skepticism, peer review and replicability of work . . . .

    Science, by definition, is limited to naturalistic methods and explanations and, as such, is precluded from using supernatural elements in the production of scientific knowledge. [[NSTA, Board of Directors, July 2000. Emphases added.]

    The a priori question-begging materialistic ideological impositions are blatant. So is the “supernatural explanations” strawman. But, ever since Plato in the Laws Bk X 2350 years ago, the real issue has been inference to explanation on nature vs art, i.e. intelligence, on reasonable signs. But that is not ideologically convenient so a Creationist strawman is set up instead.

    At the level of the NSTA board, that is not merely irresponsible, it is something hey knew or should know. So, they are speaking that which is false in willful disdain of duties of care to truth and fairness; seeking to profit by untruth being taken for truth. There is a short, sharp little word for that, which is most painful but sadly apt.

    There sure is a lot of confusion and polarisation going around these days.

    But, in a few years, when the polarising, confusing poisonous rhetorical smoke of burning strawmen soaked in ad hominems clears, what has been going on will be quite plainly evident.

    Nope, ID does not need to try to impose a new ideological a priori on science, it only needs to expose and correct the one that is there.

    KF

  96. “The a priori question-begging materialistic ideological impositions are blatant. So is the “supernatural explanations” strawman.”

    Please stop beating around the bush, KF. I agree with your repeated opposition to materialist ideology and other related ‘-isms’ (e.g. evolutionism and naturalism). I get it, o.k.?

    Most importantly: Where are these “positive visions of ID” that Steve Fuller is calling for?

    I’ve heard your beaver-building argument and it is not the same as speaking about ‘human-made things’. Think digital world, think artifical intelligence, think prosthetics and human enhancements, think electronic consciousness, social media squared, heck, even think ‘Singularity.’ These things are all in a different category than the ‘other designers’ you are offering.

    “the pattern of inductive inference is not properly to humanity but to intelligence.”

    You say that as what? As a human being. You cannot escape yourself; none of us (currently) can. Thinking reflexively will help to solve your pseudo-objectivistic posturing. Studying ‘general intelligence’ (though there doesn’t appear to be so much of it in IDM-ID) is fine (in the abstract), but it is still done from a human perspective (in the actual and concrete).

    If all you’re doing is looking backwards, if all you have to say is ‘Darwinian evolution couldn’t accomplish this’ or ‘mechanism H is not sufficient,’ that won’t win you any awards or break new ground. It’ll just appeal to the same Creationist channels of 20c. You’ve got to come up with a ‘positive vision of ID.’ You’ve got to look to the future! That is the next step forward.

    How could you, how can we ‘intelligently design’ the future of humankind? This *must* become part of ID’s agenda, otherwise it is an insiginficant claim of ‘revolution.’ This is what Steve Fuller is speaking about with his Humanity 2.0. And if we’re talking about ‘theomimesis,’ building humanity’s future based on similar ‘designs in nature,’ then why not?

  97. GS:

    It should be quite clear from the above, that there are no non-question-begging reasons to confine “intelligent” in relevant ways to “human.” I have shown that design relates to relevant intelligence, not humanness. Beavers build dams of recognisable and appropriate classes, which requires considerable intelligence. I do not deny that this was programmed into the beaver’s genome [and what a program that must be! wish w3e could reverse engineer it!], but that itself only points to beavers as secondary designers designed to fulfill a keystone ecosystems role of flood control etc.

    Similarly, form the other end, only certain humans are capable of designing a functional digital computer system, from electronics on up. As I can testify from experience, this requires a considerable body of specific intelligence focussed into particular knowledge and skill. It is certainly not synonymous with humanness.

    So from the two sides it is clear that humans do not exhaust the set of designers and it is evident that the design of complex digital computational systems is not based on being human but on having relevant knowledge and skill. So if we were to see anything else doing this we would have no reason to infer that this is not intelligent in the relevant way as not human.

    And you are erecting a strawman, based on begging the question I have just again corrected.

    We know that relevant intelligence is involved in design. We meet relevant cases that show the characteristic signs of designs. It is not merely the needle in a haystack inadequacy of chance and necessity mechanisms of any kind — not merely Darwinian ones BTW — that is the basis of the inference but the positive evidence of what produces such systems multiplied by correcting any tendency to try to equate intelligence with being human.

    Of course, rhetoric can be spun out endlessly on matters like that when horns are locked.

    That is not something that has to be proved. It is massively evident as we see a culture all around us in grave endarkenment and spinning out into absurdity and suicide.

    What is relevant is that we have good reason, for the reasonable to see there is an alternative, one that builds on glorified common sense, without materialist ideological question-begging; which is a significant problem as I documented. Which is important for a lot of people who do not know that science in our day has been in key parts taken ideological captive to materialism. They don’t know the absurdities involved in that. So it is important to point it out, often enough for people to notice.

    My mom’s rule of thumb was ten exposures to break through the filter psychology. For those who are not deeply programmed not to see. Some such will need the equivalent of cult de-programming, probably through the sort of massive collapse that broke Marxism and left the true believers and propagandists running for cover 20 years back.

    Sure, the sort of reasoning I am taking up is inductive, but that is true of any reasoning that tries to engage the world of experience and see patterns in it. That is what Newton pointed out 300 years ago. And he was right then and now to say that if we are reasoning like that we have no reason to let speculative metaphysical assumptions control our conclusions. Such as those the NSTA would impose, as well as the NAS, and many many others, some with force of law.

    That ID should stand up for intellectual freedom of thought is not something to be ashamed of. Or to be said a few times and then left behind, no, not int eh teeth of entrenched heavily funded ideologues who set up a high priesthood dressed up in the holy lab coat. And not just on origin of life or of major body plans.

    But to expose such censorship is not the actual science itself.

    The relevant science is quite simple: observe, note patterns, infer explanatory constructs, test, generalise on inference to best current explanaiton. No need to get into grand metaphysical debates when something so modest will do.

    And if someone sets out to squash you for using your free mind to do free science, then expose him for the intolerant bigot he is. Let him worry about being ideological and being caught out in it. We don’t need to copy the errors of the materialists to move science ahead. Not on the strength of the evidence we have in hand.

    As for ID and the future, I have repeatedly pointed out my futurism. ID is related to TRIZ, the theory of inventive problem solving. If we can get something close to AI and if we ca get something that works as a self replicating machine that can hook up to an industrial Civ 2.0 modular package with associated energy systems, preferably fusion tech [Bussard looks interesting to me, and 74 days to Titan looks real real good if we can go there], we have a basis for transforming the third world and for solar system colonisation.

    In short the issues are there, once we can move.

    And the Rep Rap is a step to self replicators.

    G’day

    KF

  98. “we see a culture all around us in grave endarkenment and spinning out into absurdity and suicide.”

    This is the United States of America that you’re speaking of, isn’t it? That is the ‘culture’ you are referring to, aren’t you?

    O.k. ‘transforming the third world’ and ‘solar system colonisation’ according to ‘intelligent design,’ new ‘energy systems.’ It’s not OoL or OoBI, but hey, that’s a start!

    “That ID should stand up for intellectual freedom of thought is not something to be ashamed of.”

    Steve Fuller is a champion of academic freedom in the U.K.

    So then, K.F., are you willing to provide an answer to his poignant question:
    “why should our intelligence be taken as a guide to intelligence in things we had nothing to do with creating?”

    “ID is related to TRIZ, the theory of inventive problem solving.”

    I’m assuming then that you acccept the idea that ‘technology evolves’ according to TRIZ (i.e. Genrich Altshuller). Do you accept ‘technological evolution’ as does William Dembski, K.F., or not?

  99. –Gregory: “StephenB, you’re committing ‘observationism’ – the idea that ‘observation’ determines everything. Sure, observation is one part of (as you call it) ‘the process,’ but it is not everything.;

    You are again confusing the cause/effect relationship with the detection of the cause, which begins by observing the effect. A forensic scientist, during the process of making a design inference, does not discern a murder (design) from an accidental death (non-design) by beginning the process with the assumption of murder (design). He begins by observing the evidence and drawing an inference either to murder or accidental death. You simply do not understand the process, presumably because you do not want to.

    Tell me which of these two sentences was designed and explain to me how you arrived at your decision:

    [a] dqoeiveiiopdke9eu oeiwovodhe dideiwhie

    [b] Gregory will refuse to participate in the exercise.

    Take me through the process by which you make the determination–step by step.

    –”And I agree with John W Kelly’s support of Steve Fuller’s idea of ‘theomimesis’ as the true foundation of ID (whether theory or so-called ‘methodology’ = Explanatory Filter + ?). When it views nature as ‘divine technology,’ that is exactly what IDM-ID is hoping to do.”

    Well, of course you agree with him. You instinctively agree with all thoughtless objections to ID.

    –”That is something the IDM via the DI has yet to satisfactorily confront, to any degree comparable with what Fuller is doing with transhumanism and Humanity 2.0. So, ethics and values and beliefs and meanings and purpose and plan and dream are non-IDM-ID, since IDM-ID (as StephenB and Timaeus represent it) is focussed strictly on ID-as-natural-science, when the presuppositions of (transcendental) Mind are clearly driving it.”

    So, confront it yourself. You claim to be the expert. You know more than William Dembski, Michael Behe, Stephen Meyer, or anyone else in the “IDM-ID” movement because you have told us so. So, we will turn to you, the true expert, to solve this awful problem over which you obsess day and night. If you can’t do it, then who can? Surely, not me– –surely not kairosfocus–surely not Timaeus. We do not wield that wonderful tool of Human Extension–that epistemological wonder that solves all intellectual problems. That is your gig. Why do you refuse to do that which you say can and should be done on a matter that you claim to understand better than anyone else? You’re the man. Stop blowing smoke and provide this life-changing paradigm that will take ID to the next level.

  100. Forensic science is a science of human-made things (e.g. murders). It is a science for the legal system, for courts of law (can we prove beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict?). It is certainly not a natural science, as IDM-ID claims to be by focussing on Origins of Life and Biological Information (OoL&BI). You’re quite obviously conflating two different categories (human intelligence vs. non-human intelligence) by invoking it, StephenB.

    “You are again confusing the cause/effect relationship with the detection of the cause, which begins by observing the effect.” – StephenB

    Right, and this is because I’ve closely studied one of the greatest theorists of ‘Effects’ in human history, a giant, visonary of 20c, while you and the IDM have studied…who exactly? Who is the big ‘effects’ theorist of the IDM that could in any way compare with McLuhan?

    Stephen C. Meyer continually refers to Charles Lyell’s dictum: “The present is the key to the past.” Is that all you’ve got?

    (Note: did you realise, StephenB, that you tell people they are ‘confused’ or ‘confusing’ more than anyone I’ve read on the internet?!)

    Who said anything about taking “ID to the next level”? IDM-ID might be stuck in this same paradigm (level) for decades, the way it currently avoids talk of ‘designing,’ avoids talk of ‘designers/Designer(s),’ and offers no “positive visions of ID,” which Fuller is politely asking for in this thread. That holds very little explanatory power, very little hope for the future and depends almost wholly on ‘implications’ for any interest.

    Thanks to KF for at least attempting a ‘positive vision’!

    “why should our intelligence be taken as a guide to intelligence in things we had nothing to do with creating?” – Steve Fuller

    Still, there are no respondents…

    p.s. in his primitive example, both [a] and [b] were ‘designed’ and (most likely) also typed into computer by StephenB (or his dog or cat – [b] was most surely by his cat! ; ).

  101. “why should our intelligence be taken as a guide to intelligence in things we had nothing to do with creating?” – Steve Fuller

    Because it gives us knowledge of cause and effect relationships. That is how we reach design inferences, via our knowledge of cause and effect relationships-> ie knowing what nature, operating freely can produce vs knowing what takes some added agency to produce.

    If every time we observe X and the cause is always some agency AND nature, operating freely can’t do it, then when we observe X without knowing who, how, nor why, we can still infer some agency was involved. And then we investigate in that light.

    Ya see a design inference changes the investigation. And it ain’t no subtle change.

  102. 103

    “Stop blowing smoke and provide this life-changing paradigm that will take ID to the next level.” – StephenB

    Maintaining ‘Theomimesis’ will take ID to the next level, guaranteed.

    “why should our intelligence be taken as a guide to intelligence in things we had nothing to do with creating?” – Steve Fuller

    Exactly. It shouldn’t. Our intelligence should be taken as a follower, a servant, a learner of a larger guiding intelligence, which we strive to obtain the understanding of. e.g. God

    ID as ‘Science of God’ makes perfect sense to those who understand there is much more to Life than what can be observed or even currently tested for.

  103. GS:

    I will note on a few points, for clarification:

    1]101, Forensic science is a science of human-made things (e.g. murders). It is a science for the legal system, for courts of law . . . It is certainly not a natural science, as IDM-ID claims to be by focussing on Origins of Life and Biological Information (OoL&BI). You’re quite obviously conflating two different categories

    The objection falls flat. for instance in elementary physics we often study things like coiled springs or crash carts etc. Are these therefore irrelevant to “natural” objects? Not at all.

    Similarly, the issue pivots on what mechanical necessity does: produces regular, low contingency outcomes under given closely similar initial conditions. High contingency under similar initial conditions is due to chance or choice; e,g consider dropping a die under closely similar conditions 200 times.

    If we see a near-flat distribution across the six values in no particular order, that is consistent with a fair die playing out by effectively chance — amplification of insensible effectively uncontrollable differences thanks to eight corners and twelve edges.

    But if they came up 6 every time, or in a code translatable into the opening words of this post, we would for cause infer extreme loading or some as yet mysterious intervention, i.e. design. Because the number of possibilities of 200 tosses, 6^200 (~ 4.27*10^155) is such that a genuinely chance result — per sampling theory — with all but certainty will not capture such a special, complex specific pattern. But, as long as design is POSSIBLE, that would not at all be so nearly impossible to observe.

    so, the reasonable person in the first case would infer an extremely loaded die, and in the second, a hidden means of manipulation.

    All of this is reasonable.

    And likewise, in OOL we are looking at a gated, encapsulated, metabolising automaton using digitally coded strings, algorithms etc. On the same sort of sampling expectations, such is not reasonably observable on the gamut of the observed cosmos on chance contingency and blind necessity.

    In short it is the rejection of the design inference which now clearly pivots on an a priori refusal to entertain the possibility of a designer. Notice, for life on earth, we have made no demand that would necessarily go beyond a molecular nanotech lab some generations beyond Venter.

    For origin of major body plans, the degree of FSCO/I dwarfs that for OOL.

    2] “why should our intelligence be taken as a guide to intelligence in things we had nothing to do with creating?” – Steve Fuller. Still, there are no respondents…

    What are you talking about, other than seemingly erecting strawmen and refusing to examine the double point I have again made above?

    We see cases of non-human intelligences creating FSCO/I, e.g beaver dams and related works. We see that the particular class of greatest interest, digital code and algorithm based computational and cybernetic systems, it is not humanity as such but specific knowledge and fairly specialised skill that are vital. You will not get such a system by putting components in the wrong hands.

    3] 99: This is the United States of America that you’re speaking of, isn’t it? That is the ‘culture’ you are referring to, aren’t you?

    No, I speak of Western Culture at large. Our civilisation is mortally wounded and absent a miraculous reformation, is sinking frighteningly fast.

    4] ‘transforming the third world’ and ‘solar system colonisation’ according to ‘intelligent design,’ new ‘energy systems.’ It’s not OoL or OoBI, but hey, that’s a start!

    Different paradigms point in different directions. Biotech is a commonplace. What I am interested in is self replicating machine clusters, energy systems in place of metabolisms, and creation of secondary “intelligences,” for which the beaver gives me hope. Industrial civ 2.0 leading to 3rd world transformation and solar system colonisation

    5: I’m assuming then that you acccept the idea that ‘technology evolves’ according to TRIZ (i.e. Genrich Altshuller). Do you accept ‘technological evolution’ as does William Dembski, K.F., or not?

    Technological evolution, here, is of course by intelligent design in light of principles of improvement. I have no in-principle to such.

    But the concept of chemical evo to get to cell based life and onward complex body plans strictly on blind chance and mechanical necessity looks very very shaky, once one takes off a priori materialist blinkers.

    KF

  104. –Gregory: “(Note: did you realise, StephenB, that you tell people they are ‘confused’ or ‘confusing’ more than anyone I’ve read on the internet?!)”

    How else can I respond to someone who thinks the following sequence of characters was designed?

    dqoeiveiiopdke9eu oeiwovodhe dideiwhie

    What else can I say about someone who claims to have a vision for ID but cannot articulate it except to repeat the claim that it exists in his head?

  105. 106

    “why should our intelligence be taken as a guide to intelligence in things we had nothing to do with creating?” – Steve Fuller
    Still, there are no respondents…

    Actually, you didn’t want to talk about it, remember?

    Our existence (as intelligent agents) leaves a physical footprint in matter. It has very unique material characteristics. We can observe them.

    Those physical characteristics are the same ones that are observed to be the proximate cause of all the molecular organization in every living thing on earth.

    Perhaps you should stop your human extension powerpoint long enough to gather same data.

  106. Thanks for addressing the question:
    “Technological evolution, here [in TRIZ], is of course by intelligent design in light of principles of improvement.” – kairosfocus

    This is an important recognition, because elsewhere people are claiming ‘intelligent design’ is the study of biological and cosmic origins. Now you’re saying that you believe technology can ‘evolve’ by ‘intelligent design.’ Does anyone here see the gap of reasoning in that this situation presents? [And I'm not saying KF is wrong because that *is* what Altshuller meant re: TRIZ.]

    One person who supports ID says it’s about ‘meaning of life,’ ‘origins,’ “Where do we come from?” “could chance and necessity alone have produced life, species, and man?” etc. Yet, another person, just as much a proponent of ID, just as much an ‘ID people,’ speaks of ‘intelligently designed’ technologies.

    The two positions cannot both be correct at the same time. And while one speaks of a fantasy discovery, indeed it would be a revolution which would change human history forever, that is, if science *proved* that life is purposefully designed and is therefore *meaningful* (which personally, I already believe), the other is grounded in everyday human experience, in the ‘lifeworld’ of societies and people, who use ‘intelligently designed’ technology on a daily basis.

    Again KF, I’m not a materialist, not a naturalist, only a reductionist when reduction is necessary, not an atheist. Won’t you (re-)consider that “positive visions of ID” are indeed possible if we consider nature as ‘divine technology’ and as beings created in imago Dei try to “think God’s thoughts after him”?

    If so, welcome to Humanity 2.0!

    “Our [Western] civilisation is mortally wounded and absent a miraculous reformation, is sinking frighteningly fast.” – KF

    Obviously this is a ‘doom and gloom’ approach. I guess I’m more ‘cornucopian’ than K.F. Look on the bright side, friend!

  107. GS: “evolve” has so many meanings that it is a word that it is not wise to load up with any one. I simply underscored that technology progresses and is transformed through inventions which are cumulative and are — remember, GA studied thousands of PATENTS to deduce his principles — the product of inventors, who are intelligent designers. KF

  108. PS: I think you need to again consult context, including the point that he evidence of the digitally coded algorithmic functionally specific info in cell based life (including int he self replication system) points to life being a technology. I have above, in outline, pointed out the statistical miracle implied in asserting or assuming that chemicals in a warm little pond, volcano vent etc somehow just spontaneously organised into a living cell. With extremely high confidence we can see that this is an unobservable on blind chance and necessity, on the gamut of our cosmos. So, givne that we have excellent inductive reason to see such FSCO/I as a strong sign of design, that is a warranted inference. In part to evade this, there is a metaphysical, speculative resort to a quasi-infinite multiverse, which only succeeds in showing (a) the objection is at root an exercise in metaphysical speculation without empirical observational support — not scientific (which requires empirical testing/observation of claimed facts), (b) that the evidence of cosmological design is also material. Note the significance of the John Leslie lone fly on the wall swatted by a bullet discussion. What is clearly driving he resorts is the institutional domination of a priori evolutionary materialism, and accommodations made to it. Absent such an a priori, and absent its institutional dominance, the design inference would be a no-brainer. This is multiplied by the self-referential incoherence of such evolutionary materialism, which renders it necessarily false on philosophical- logical grounds in light of the mind-/rationality- discrediting implications of its own origins narrative.

  109. PPS: You asked my view. It is, in theological terms, that we are living out of Rom 1 and Deut 8, on borrowed time. Absent widespread repentance and reformation leading to cultural renewal of miraculous character [as has admittedly happened before], we are sliding over the cliff that Plato highlighted in The Laws Bk x so long ago now. Remember, he was writing after the Athenian collapse, with Alcibiades as exhibit no 1 on implications of the nihilism and ruthless agenda-driven factionism that avant garde evolutionary materialism opens up. Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to relive it. It is Marx — yes, Marx — who said, first time, as tragedy, thereafter as farce. The French Revolution, Nazi Germany and the USSR are the tragedy, we are the somehow sad Alinsky-ite farce. We will not even learn from LIVING MEMORY history. Churchill is spinning in his grave fast enough to drive a power plant. On just one scenario, three Iranian EMP bombs — 100 mi or so up over Ohio, France and Moscow, I guess — will be enough to draw down the curtains on the madness.

  110. “‘evolve’ has so many meanings that it is a word that it is not wise to load up with any one. I simply underscored that technology progresses and is transformed through inventions.” – KF

    Re: multiple meanings of ‘evolve’ – we are surely agreed. Yet people, not just biologists or natural scientists, use the term regularly. My aim is to circumscribe the uses of ‘evolution’ to its proper domain(s). Are you on-board with that?

    Likewise, KF, ‘progress’ has multiple meanings.

    I disagree with both Altshuller and Dembski that technology should be said to ‘evolve.’ Dembski didn’t study thousands of patents like Altshuller, and simply agrees with TRIZ’s ‘technological evolution’ language because…I’m not sure why. Do you know why, KF?

    Are you claiming intelligent design, as you see it, refers to both human-made technology and to origins of life, biological information, humankind, etc.? If so, then what is an example of something that is *not* intelligently designed in your view?

    I must admit, your involvement of technology is closer to a ‘positive vision of ID’ than anything put forward by others so far at UD that I’ve seen.

  111. GS: I did not devise the pervasiveness of widely varied usage of terms like “evolution,” and, given GA’s marxist context, “contradiction” to denote conflicts that may require tradeoffs or may with genius be transformed to get a win-win. Technological evolution describes successive states of the are as inventors provide improvements, and sometimes breakthroughs. Neither you nor I have a privilege — if we do duties of care — to ignore material factors. As for WmAD, he obviously encountered TRIZ somewhere along the line and sees a synergy with the idea of life as a technology that is warranted on the design inference starting with OOL. There are patterns of invention that obtain for things that work with matter, energy, functional organisation of parts and information. It is the latter two issues that, for things of sufficient complexity, are where intelligence becomes the most effective way to “get there.” So, it should not be surprising that the sorts of challenges we are meeting and the solutions we come up with are sufficiently similar to the natural world to give pause. The code based self replication conceived by von Neumann BEFORE DNA was identified and decoded is a good case in point. KF

  112. “Technological evolution describes successive states of the are as inventors provide improvements, and sometimes breakthroughs.”

    Not coherent. Proper English please. I reject ‘technological evolution’, remember? Convince me otherwise, if you can.

    “As for WmAD, he obviously encountered TRIZ somewhere along the line and sees a synergy with the idea of life as a technology that is warranted on the design inference starting with OOL.”

    Dembski’s apparent ‘synergy’ between ‘technological evolution’ and ‘Origins of Life’ is nowhere made clear. Could you cite a source for this ‘synergy’ please?

    Human-made code differs substantially from non-human-made code. That is, unless one pre-supposes some kind of affinity, such as could be found in the doctrine of imago Dei. But most ID proponents deny that has anything to do with their empiricistic view of ID theory.

    Fuller is saying, “Get with the program”. Resistence persists.

  113. I agree. Get with the program Gregory. It’s your idea, you do the follow up. You have been pampered in your anti-intellectual environment for so long that you can’t differentiate between activity and accomplishment. Articulate your vision and develop a workable paradigm and you will learn that creating something real is a far different thing that speculating on a daydream.

  114. GS: Pardon a typo, state of the ART. Similarly, it is not in your gift or mine to change what GA has written, we may only assess it. He/his school uses the term, and that in context includes intelligent action. Demonstrable fact out there, which shows how broadly “evolve” is often used. I have seen it used to denote successive states of systems governed by differential or difference equations that are dependent on the initial conditions and dynamics. We need to be aware and insist on case by case clarity. Debating terms is a side issue. KF

  115. F/N: The fact that we so often use GCAT to describe DNA should suffice to show how close the two codes are; BTW, that DNA was coded strings was recognised since 1953 by Crick, as his letter to his son of Mar 19 documents. And if you are objecting to coded prongs of different height etc, look at auto-play pianos, braille, Yale-type keys and locks [think about the interaction of key prongs, pins and the rotating cylinder], cams and the von Neumann proposal to code digital info using prongs of diverse standard height in his suggestions for a kinematic self replicator. KF

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