A Blind Eye towards reality

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Robert Crowther at the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture reports on a short op-ed by Bruce Chapman in the Washington Post

Chapman Wrote:

There really is a scientific case against Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, and another for the alternative of intelligent design, but you will not find them in The Post.

Chapman is wrong. Not only is there no real scientific case against Charles Darwin’s theory of Evolution beyond a discussion of the relative importance of the various mechanisms, but there is also no scientific alternative called ‘Intelligent Design’.

Chapman Wrote:

Darwin apologists are happy to opine on religion and politics, of course. What they will not do is address the growing evidence against Darwin’s theory.

This statement by Chapman is clearly wrong since not only are Darwin “apologists” happy to explore the relative importance of the various mechanisms of evolution, but they are also very willing and able to show that ‘the growing evidence against Darwin’s theory’ is not a scientific claim but rather a socio-political claim. One need not go further than Panda’s Thumb TalkDesign or TalkOrigins and TalkReason. In addition various papers and books have been published addressing not only the major flaws and shortcomings in the arguments of Intelligent Design, but also documenting the socio-religious underpinnings of the ID movement. Barbara Forrest And Paul Gross describe in Creationism’s Trojan Horse

in full detail the claims and operations of the “Intelligent Design” movement, the most recent manifestation of American creationism. Explaining and analyzing what “design theorists” call their “Wedge Strategy,” they document the Wedge’s aggressive political and public relations campaigning. The most notable feature of the movement’s purportedly new scientific paradigm is an abject failure to produce scientific data in support of its claims or even a coherent research program. Instead, the Wedge maintains a crowded nationwide schedule of lectures, popular publications for its mostly conservative Christian constituency, and media appearances, all sustained by generous funding from religious benefactors. The Wedge has intruded itself efficiently into educational politics at local, state, and national levels.

Source: Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design by Barbara Forrest & Paul R. Gross Oxford University Press 2004

The Discovery Instute’s Wedge Document describes the goals

Governing Goals

  • To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies.
  • To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and hurnan beings are created by God.

Chapman continues

Chapman Wrote:

Intelligent design is another matter, and it is almost always misrepresented in the media.

Of course, any time the media reports on the scientific vacuity of ID, it must be a misrepresentation.

Chapman Wrote:

The theory holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.

There is no theory of Intelligent Design. Intelligent Design is a scientifically vacuous concept which relies on our ignorance.

And don’t just take the opinions from scientists on this matter [1] but also take note of such brave ID proponents as Gilder or Nelson who have come forward to express their doubts:

Gilder Wrote:

“Intelligent design itself does not have any content.”

Source: The evolution of George Gilder by Joseph P. Kahn, Boston Globe, July 27, 2005

Nelson Wrote:

“We don’t have such a theory right now, and that’s a problem. Without a theory, it’s very hard to know where to direct your research focus. Right now, we’ve got a bag of powerful intuitions, and a handful of notions such as ‘irreducible complexity’ and ‘specified complexity’- but, as yet, no general theory of biological design.”

Source: Paul Nelson, Discovery Institute Fellow, in the July/August 2004 issue of Touchstone magazine

For a better understanding of the religions nature of Intelligent Design read In their own words - (Is “intelligent design” a religious concept?). For a Glossary of Intelligent Design read An “Intelligent Design” Glossary. Both links are articles by Robert Camp.


Footnote [1]

R. Nichols Wrote:

Proponents of Intelligent Design theory seek to ground a scientific research program that appeals to teleology within the context of biological explanation. As such, Intelligent Design theory must contain principles to guide researchers. I argue for a disjunction: either Dembski’s ID theory lacks content, or it succumbs to the methodological problems associated with creation science-problems that Dembski explicitly attempts to avoid. The only concept of a designer permitted by Dembski’s Explanatory Filter is too weak to give the sorts of explanations which we are entitled to expect from those sciences, such as archeology, that use effect-to-cause reasoning. The new spin put upon ID theory-that it is best construed as a ‘metascientific hypothesis’-fails for roughly the same reason.

R. Nichols, Scientific content, testability, and the vacuity of Intelligent Design theory The American Catholic philosophical quarterly , 2003 , vol. 77 , no 4 , pp. 591 - 611

Richard Colling Wrote:

In his new book, “Random Designer,” he writes: “It pains me to suggest that my religious brothers are telling falsehoods” when they say evolutionary theory is “in crisis” and claim that there is widespread skepticism about it among scientists. “Such statements are blatantly untrue,” he argues; “evolution has stood the test of time and considerable scrutiny. [1]”

Sharon Begley in Tough Assignment: Teaching Evolution To Fundamentalists, Wall Street Journal, December 3, 2004; Page A15

Patrick Frank Wrote:

Abstract: The assumption of design of the universe is examined from a scientific perspective. The claims of William Dembski and of Michael Behe are unscientific because they are a-theoretic. The argument from order or from utility are shown to be indeterminate, circular, to rest on psychological as opposed to factual certainty, or to be insupportable as regards humans but possibly not bacteria, respectively. The argument from the special intelligibility of the universe specifically to human science does not survive comparison with the capacities of other organisms. Finally, the argument from the unlikelihood of physical constants is vitiated by modern cosmogonic theory and recrudesces the God-of-the-gaps.

Patrick Frank “On the Assumption of Design”, Theology and Science, Volume 2, Number 1 / April 2004, pp. 109 - 130.

35 Comments

There really is a scientific case against Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, and another for the alternative of intelligent design

Glad to hear it.

Can one of the IDers out there tell me what this scientific theory of ID *is*, please?

What does the designer do, according to this scientific theory?

What mechanisms does the designer use to do whatever the heck you think it does, according to this scientific theory?

Where can we see these mechanisms ina ction today, according to this scientific theory?

Or is ID nothing but religious apologetics, and are IDers like Chapman simply lying to us when they claim they have a scientific theory of ID?

He’s lying. And what pisses me about these people is that they KNOW they’re lying, and they know WE know they’re lying, and puff out their furr when they lose doing it, and smirk like the Commander-in-Chief (by appointment) when they get away with it.

The theory holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection. It goes no further. It is not creationism. It is not religion.

Notice, he specifies that “certain features of the universe … are best explained by an intelligent cause.” Though he claims that “It is not creationism,” it’s pretty obvious that intelligently causing a universe is an act of overt and supernatural creation.

Bruce Chapman lied:

Darwin apologists are happy to opine on religion and politics, of course. What they will not do is address the growing evidence against Darwin’s theory.

Talk Origins says:

CI: Intelligent Design

* (see also CH000: Creationism Generally) * (see also CF000: 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and Information Theory) * CI000: ID as Science o CI001. Intelligent design theory is scientific. + CI001.1. Intelligent design theory is not religious. + CI001.2. Intelligent design is not creationism. + CI001.3. Intelligent design is mainstream. + CI001.4. Intelligent design has been published in peer-reviewed journals. + (see also CA041.1: Santorum Amendment.) o CI002. Intelligent design has explanatory power. o CI009. Evidence for design disproves evolutionary mechanisms. o CI010. There is a law of conservation of information. o (see also CF011: Design from ev. algorithms comes from fitness function.) * CI100-CI199: Detecting Design o (see also CA100: Argument from incredulity.) o CI100. Design is detectable. + CI100.1. Look; is design not obvious? o CI101. Complexity indicates design. o CI102. Irreducible complexity indicates design. o CI110. Complex specified information indicates design. o CI111. Dembski’s filter can detect design. + CI111.1. Specified information criterion produces no false positives. + CI111.2. Specified complexity characterizes what intelligent agents do. o CI113. Genetic algorithms require a designer to specify desired outcome. + (see also CF011: Design from ev. algorithms comes from fitness function.) o CI120. Purpose indicates design. o CI130. Functional integration indicates design. o CI141. Similarities in DNA and anatomy are due to common design. + CI141.1. Similar structures for similar functions, different for different. o CI190. SETI researchers expect that they can detect design. o CI191. Archaeologists and forensic scientists can detect design. * CI200: First Cause. o CI200. There must have been a first cause. * CI300: Anthropic Principle. o CI301. The cosmos is fine-tuned to permit human life. o CI302. The cosmos is fine-tuned to permit scientific discovery. * CI400: Meta-arguments o CI401. The methodology of science rules out even considering design. + (see also CA301.1: Science rules out supernatural explanations.) o CI402. Evolutionists have blinded themselves to seeing design. + (see also CA230.1: Evolutionists interpret per their preconceptions.) o CI410. Design requires a designer.

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html

God, Paul Nelson, how can you show your face around here. From Chapman to Richards, your fellow travelers at that ‘Institute’ are so embarrassing.

I estimate that Talk Origins list refutes about 450 arguments creationists have made against evolution. And Bruce Chapman says scientists won’t deal with any anti-evolution arguments? Can someone from the DI (we know you’re reading) please explain why he would say something so wrong?

I am a local subscriber to the Post and sent in the following letter. I know I missed some of Chapman’s misrepresentations, but it was impossible to catch them all in a letter they’d be willing to print.

Discovery Institute president Bruce Chapman’s letter about intelligent design (“Blind Eye Toward Intelligent Design,” Free For All, July 30) provides a grossly misleading view of the alleged controversy over evolutionary theory.

He says, “There really is a scientific case against Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, and another for the alternative of intelligent design, but you will not find them in The Post.” You won’t find them in the scientific literature, either. If ID were such a fruitful mode of inquiry, one would think that journals would be burgeoning with relevant articles, but they’re not. The number of articles in peer-reviewed journals supporting ID can be counted on the fingers of one hand, and they’ve all been refuted so far as mainstream biologists are concerned. However, this hasn’t stopped ID proponents from writing textbooks and seeking to have their views taught in schools.

He claims there is growing evidence against Darwin’s theory and cites the 400 scientists who have signed a petition that says, “I am skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.” Considering that almost no biologists believe that natural selection is the sole source of evolution, just about any of them would consider signing such a statement. Meanwhile, over 600 scientists just named Steve (who represent an estimated one percent of the world’s scientists) have signed a statement that reads, in part, “there is no serious scientific doubt that evolution occurred or that natural selection is a major mechanism in its occurrence.”

He says that intelligent design is scientific and merely claims that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause.… It goes no further.” Well, that’s pretty amazing for alleged scientists. One would think that the nature of this intelligent cause would be a serious line of inquiry. You don’t see physicists discovering that gravity causes the motions of the stars and planets and stopping there - they want to know what causes gravity. Why aren’t the ID theorists looking into whether this cause is a supreme being or reptiles from Alpha Centauri or (as one Internet wag put it) the Flying Spaghetti Monster? The answer is that they’ve already decided that it’s the Christian God, but that’s something they can’t admit to without also revealing that their program is not scientific at all.

He says, “The only religious believers in all this are the Darwinists.” He seems to be forgetting Philip Johnson, widely credited as being the founder of the ID movement, who said, “Our strategy has been to change the subject a bit so that we can get the issue of intelligent design, which really means the reality of God, before the academic world and into the schools.” Or leading ID theorist William Dembski: “Indeed, intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.” Or Chapman’s Discovery Institute colleague Jonathan Wells, who has said, “My prayers convinced me I should devote my life to destroying Darwinism.”

He concludes by saying Darwinists “refuse … to air the strengths and weaknesses of Darwin’s theory and … seek to punish the scholars and teachers who do.” No, scientists who support evolution are only outraged because ID proponents and their ilk are attempting to shortcut the scientific process by going straight to school boards in an attempt to get their views aired. Evolutionary science has been thrashed out, tested, examined, re-examined, and refined for over a hundred years in professional journals and other scientific forums. Until Intelligent Design theory and other criticisms of evolution have undergone and survived the same rigorous scrutiny, they should not be presented in our schools.

Good going Kevin.

According to YEC Kurt Wise, “Creationists have a long way to go toward explaining nature within the boundaries set by Scripture.” (from an interview at Chalcedon). Wise goes on to say that Creationists are beginning to produce testable theories that have predictive value. Is anyone aware of such theories? Do any have any merit whatsoever? Wise refers to his own “theory” of biogeography (post-Flood faunal dispersal) as an example. But, as Wise has previously stated that he won’t let facts get in the way of his Creationist stance, how can any “theory” he comes up with be taken seriously? At any rate, has anyone compare YEC “theories” with ID theories [sic], and is there much difference?

what is the scientific theory of intelligent design? this question keeps coming up ad infinitum. There are no answers forthcoming from phil or mikey or willie or jonathan and it doesnt appear that any of us have a direct pipeline into the intelligence of the designer. therefore it seems that it will fall into our hands to do it for them. at least to the point that we can say “Is this it? can there be a test designed for this?” I have suggested that when scientific investigation concludes that the result of a study is “random” “emergent” “uncertain” “chaotic” or “probable” the actual result is the action of an intelligent designing entity working through a mechanism that falls outside of currently conventional scientific inquiry. Further conclusions also are; the designer cannot ultimately be a material object, the action has to be in all basic science and not just biology, and even when the results of experiments are certain and the mechanisms are known all that we have done is solve a design mechanism. i dont expect help from lenny or ts because they just get hostile and denigrate the intelligence of anyone interested in this aspect of this problem, but there must be others who have given this some thought. most important to me is can there be a scientific theory of intelligent design that does not require a redefinition of the word “science” (such as science is organized common sense or science is finding the most reasonable explanation for the phenomena observed in nature). Katrina?

what is the scientific theory of intelligent design? this question keeps coming up ad infinitum.

And never gets answered.

I suspect that’s because there ISN’T any, and IDers are simply lying to us when they claim there is.

I have suggested that when scientific investigation concludes that the result of a study is “random” “emergent” “uncertain” “chaotic” or “probable” the actual result is the action of an intelligent designing entity working through a mechanism that falls outside of currently conventional scientific inquiry. Further conclusions also are; the designer cannot ultimately be a material object, the action has to be in all basic science and not just biology, and even when the results of experiments are certain and the mechanisms are known all that we have done is solve a design mechanism.

I.e., the scientific theory of ID consists of “POOF!!! God dunnit!!!!”

When your fellow IDers testify in Dover, in court, that ID is not religious, will they be lying under oath?

most important to me is can there be a scientific theory of intelligent design that does not require a redefinition of the word “science”

No. Science cannot include religious doctrines (and I thank you for confirming for us once again that the “scientific theory of ID” consists of nothing but religious doctrines, and IDers are simply lying to us when they claim otherwise) without redefining “science”.

That, of course, is why the IDers in Kansas are trying to redefine “science”

Lenny:

When your fellow IDers testify in Dover, in court, that ID is not religious, will they be lying under oath?

That’s a good point. This appears to be a no-win situation for ID’ers. Perhaps an expert witness could be brought in to testify the defition of religion? Once testified that it is the same as ID …

the pro from dover Wrote:

can there be a scientific theory of intelligent design that does not require a redefinition of the word “science”…?

Is it logically possible? Yes, as long as the designer &/or ‘his’ handiwork is accessible by the scientific method.

Is it realistically possible? Not in the forseeable future, at least. Remember, a scientific theory is properly a coherent model that explains a significant body of data, offers valid predictions that can be tested, and is strongly supported by all (or almost all) the available evidence. A big part of that support is a record of successful prediction.

Before that, new ideas in science are just hypotheses (if that). Proponents of ID generally refuse to even articulate their hypotheses. (“Evolution can’t explain it” is not a real hypothesis, and wouldn’t support ID even if it were true.) ID proponents seem spectacularly unwilling to make testable predictions and actually, you know, test them.

Until someone is willing to articulate and test real hypotheses, it’s not even logically possible to have a scientific theory of ID.

Can there be testable hypotheses of ID? Yes. I think the whole ‘frontloading’ idea is a perfect example. Unfortunately for ID, it’s already been tested and proved wrong.

The theory holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.

So Chapman acknowledges that the “theory” of intelligent design is simply an opinion that can be reduced to a single sentence, a sentence that not only misconstrues what a theory is, but – more importantly – also misconstrues what explanation is.

“Why is the sky blue?” “Intelligent cause.”

“Why did the shuttle O-rings fail?” “Intelligent cause.”

“How does a combustion engine work?” “Intelligent cause.”

“How did the Enlightenment come about?” “Intelligent cause.”

“How did flagella come about?” “Intelligent cause.”

“Why should we accept the latter when we don’t accept the others?” “Shhh!”

I have suggested that when scientific investigation concludes that the result of a study is “random” “emergent” “uncertain” “chaotic” or “probable” the actual result is the action of an intelligent designing entity working through a mechanism that falls outside of currently conventional scientific inquiry.

This reflects

a) ignorance of Chaos Theory and statistics

b) the erroneous belief that your personal metaphysical musings have any merit, relevance, or bearing

c) unfamiliarity with the reams of material written about the “God of the Gaps”

“i dont expect help from lenny or ts because they just get hostile and denigrate the intelligence of anyone interested in this aspect of this problem”

That looks rather ad hominem. I’m hostile to misrepresentation and intellectual (and plain old) dishonesty (including Lenny’s).

but there must be others who have given this some thought. most important to me is can there be a scientific theory of intelligent design that does not require a redefinition of the word “science” (such as science is organized common sense or science is finding the most reasonable explanation for the phenomena observed in nature)

What this comes down to is mandating that your suggestion is “the most reasonable explanation”, when it is not, in fact, an explanation at all.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Explanation

An explanation is a statement which points to causes, context and consequences of some object (or process, state of affairs etc.), together with rules or laws which link these to the object. Some of these elements of the explanation may be implicit.

Kindly lay out the rules or laws that link “goddidit” to those phenomena that it is intended to explain.

come on ts dont hold back, let us know what you really think. im just as confused by intelligent design as many others are. when it comes to a point that one cant even float out a trial balloon without causing you to bring out the howitzers, then those wishing a little edification will be reluctant to say anything leaving you and lenny to attack each other. Dont be the philip johnson of the PT.

Hello “pro from dover,” I’m no friend of double-talking ID (e.g. claiming that fundamental physical constants of the created universe are evidence the universe was designed, “but we’re not preaching creationism!”), however I’ll allow for the possibility of a scientific theory of intelligent design.

First, define what “intelligent” means, of course. For arbitrary contexts like detecting intelligent design performed by unknown entities, that’s important.

Secondly, define a practical and objective process that can be applied to arbitrary situations to differentiate between intelligent origin and non-intelligent origin.

So far, I don’t know that either step has actually been done. Step one is taken more or less for granted–“intelligent” means there exists some being possessing a mind more or less parallel to the human mind in nature and function, though probably surpassing it in ability. In short, “intelligence” boils down to an anthropomorphism. Why should we assume that any designer’s (or Designer’s) intelligence would parallel ours? We really ought to have a more objective and less egocentric definition.

I don’t think the second step has gotten very far either (though I have some personal ideas I’m working on). Irreducible complexity can apparently arise spontaneously. Complex specified information looks good on paper, but there are natural processes which act to specify complex information–in fact natural selection is a specifying process that acts to impose a particular direction on a complex set of genomic information, producing CSI. Dembski’s explanatory filter tends to be subjective, and can produce either false positives or false negatives, depending on how it is applied–it’s not a bad first attempt, but reducing everything to a trichotomy of law, chance, and design is an oversimplification (what about process? serendipity? feedback? chaotic attractors? etc).

DI isn’t working on developing ID theory, and PR pieces like Chapman’s contribute nothing to science. Quite the opposite. Let him come up with something worth contributing before he starts complaining about what science is lacking. If he thinks he has God on his side, and science needs what he’s got, then let him prove that he’s really got the goods by coming up with something more than just double-talk and complaints. Let him actually add positive knowledge to science, instead of trying to take away from it, to detract from the reputations of its practitioners, and to inhibit the teaching of established science to the young.

come on ts dont hold back, let us know what you really think.

Why don’t you cut out the ad hominem crap and simply respond to the substance of what I wrote?

Again, “Kindly lay out the rules or laws that link “goddidit” to those phenomena that it is intended to explain.”

when it comes to a point that one cant even float out a trial balloon without causing you to bring out the howitzers

Here’s your “trial balloon”:

I have suggested that when scientific investigation concludes that the result of a study is “random” “emergent” “uncertain” “chaotic” or “probable” the actual result is the action of an intelligent designing entity working through a mechanism that falls outside of currently conventional scientific inquiry.

The “howitzer” shoots down this balloon but noting that this “suggestion” is a metaphysical musing commonly known as “God of the Gaps”, which has been written about extensively and has widely been recognized by both scientists and theologians, including the Pope, as inadequate. The big gun response is that your “trial balloon” amounts to an attempt to stave of science and scientific explanation, which is in the business of narrowing that gap by filling it in with mechanical detail. The point is that your balloon can’t get off the ground; it’s worthless as scientific content, and doesn’t hold much appeal in any other intellectual realm. You have your reasons to not let go of your idea no matter how thoroughly it has been shown to be a lost cause, but the end result will be the same. Your perspective seems to be that anyone who shows why your idea is no good is a meany; you only want to hear from people who will make you feel good by offering support for your leaden balloon. Sorry, that’s not how science or any other honest intellectual endeavor works.

Here’s an interesting blog from an IDist:

http://apologetics.danweasel.com/20[…]-7/#comments

Any scientist who gives up on inquiry because he can’t figure it out or doesn’t want to figure it out, then simply scribbles away a phenomenon as the work of God isn’t a scientist; he is not doing science, he is throwing up his hands and refusing to work.… “The god of the gaps” was used to cover over bad science and thinkers unwilling to do real work. When there is no evidence available, to claim that God is responsible is a pure Ad Ignorantium fallacy.

Yup; quite right. But he also writes:

But when there exists positive evidence to suggest that a designer is at work, it is unscientific to claim that this evidence must be philosophically discarded.

No scientist has ever claimed that evidence must be “philosophically discarded”, whatever that means. What scientists do say is that claims that some biological mechanism is “irreducibly complex” is transparently ad ignorantium; it’s not evidence of anything, other than the psychology of those with the will to believe.

He also writes:

This is not what the ID group does. They attempt to demonstrate via physical evidence, not just that existing explanations of the existence of life fail, but that there is positive evidence for a non-natural explanation.

“The existence of life”? That sounds like abiogenesis, not evolution. As for “positive evidence for a non-natural explanation”, that either means that there’s direct natural evidence of the supernatural, which is conceptually incoherent, or – I suspect – means that there is evidence that no natural explanation could suffice. But that again is, quite simply, ad ignorantium.

Intelligent design can’t get off the ground as scientific explanation, because it is fundamentally ad ignorantium, lacking any explanatory power at all. The only sort of intelligent design theory that could get off the ground is a theory of how the designer produces the specific designs we see, together with evidence of such a designer having done so. This is the sort of thing Lenny keeps asking for, and the sort of thing that is nowhere to be found in any of the output of the IDists.

Of course, I don’t expect any of my effort to explain any of this will result in any gratitude from “pro”, because I’m not saying what s/he wants to hear. The complaint is not that I use a howitzer to shoot down hsr balloon, but that I shoot at it at all. S/he writes “ those wishing a little edification will be reluctant to say anything”, but this is disingenuous, because what is being sought is not edification, but rather confirmation, regardless of the actual validity of the claim.

im just as confused by intelligent design as many others are.

Why. After all, ID is a scientific theory, with lots of legit scientists working on it, for almost a decade now. Dozens of books have been published; heck, they even have “peer-reviewed science journal articles”. Right?

So what’s the big secret? Why is it that the IDers ****STILL*** can’t even just tell us WHAT THE HECK THEIR THEORY **IS** ????????

Or is that because they don’t really have any scientific theory at all, just religious opinions — and are flat out lying to us when they claim otherwise.

Re “however I’ll allow for the possibility of a scientific theory of intelligent design.”

To put in my two cents: I’d think the first thing somebody needs, before forumulating a hypothesis, is to identify a specific pattern in nature that the hypothesis is supposed to explain.

For instance, Darwin had several island species only slightly different than nearby mainland species, and (from current species and fossils) lots of species being only slightly different than earlier species from the same or nearby areas. He started with observed patterns, and only then set up a hypothesis to explain them.

Henry

To say that probabilistic or chaotic behavior in a system reveals the “hand of a designer” implies that the laws governing such systems are inadequate or incomplete somehow, and what are observing is some sort of “average” of a myriad of unseen interactions.

This is most definitely NOT the case. In a more strictly mathematical sense, Chaotic behavior is NOT the result of some deficiency in the laws or equations, rather it is an inherent property of the laws themselevs. Certain types of equations give chaotic results, while others give nice, smooth curves like the ones in our 8th grade algebra books.

The same sort of thing is true of probabilistic systems, at least at the quantum level. There are no “hidden variables” that give the appearance of probabistic behavior - this notion was discarded long ago by quantum theorists.

Even when macroscopic observables (such as temperature or the winning lottery numbers) are indeed some sort of time-averaged summation of “micro interactions”, the laws describing those interactions are well understood, even though the number of interactions may be too large to follow one by one.

So I guess the point of all this is that chaotic or probabilistic behavior is not sufficient reason to invoke a Designer. Pro from Dover will have to look elsewhere to justify doing so.

There really is a scientific case against Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, and another for the alternative of intelligent design

I’m reminded of Dubya’s comedic search for WMDs behind the curtains and under the furniture. (I’m sure the parents of dead soldiers bust a gut over that one. But I digress…)

Does that “scientific case” consist of anything other than the “growing list” of “brave scientists” signing the vacuous “Dissent from Darwin” statement? Do our DI friends need to have their noses rubbed still more in the bogosity of that statement?

They don’t care. He’s writing for the general public in the DC area who don’t know whether there’s an ID theory but are prepared to accept its existence because its proponents keep talking about it, who don’t know the difference between evolution and abiogenesis, and who don’t know the difference between Darwin’s original theory and evolution as it is today.

He’s also managing to artfully mix up the deigned-undesigned and natural-nonnatural (for which read supernatural)terminology again.

The subtext is the same old same old: there’s evidence for design in nature (“nature proclaims the glory of God”) but the scientific establishment (“all those nasty secular humanists and atheists who hate God”) are engaged in a campaign to silence the brave scientists out there (“all the warriors in Jesus’s army”) because they’re too attached to the Darwinian dogma (“can’t stand the idea of having to become Christians”) even though there are serious problems with the theory (“we can’t explain every last step of abiogenesis and evolution yet so clearly we need to discard the current science and invoke our deity of choice”).

It’s just a further attempt to confuse people into thinking evolutionary biology is in deep trouble when it isn’t, that there’s a viable alternative when there isn’t, and that the scientific establishment is stifling debate on nonscientific grounds when the nonscientific grounds in fact all belong to the ID people.

i dont think im making a lot of headway here. ID cannot just be a gaps idea it really must include all that is known and unknown, the differece being in the former the design mechanism has been solved. this leads me to my next question; is there anything in the universe that is so non-complex that it couldnt possibly have had a designer?

i dont think im making a lot of headway here.

I know this is a shocking idea, but perhaps because there’s no headway to be made. And it also has to do with your refusal to engage in a rational form of inquiry, addressing points previously made.

ID cannot just be a gaps idea

But that’s the idea you presented.

Why are you focused/interested in ID? ID is a completely bogus and fraudulent political program; it has no intellectual merit, so there’s no reason to try to make headway with it. Meanwhile the theory of evolution is extremely well supported and fruitful. If you want to make headway, that’s where to do it.

the differece being in the former the design mechanism has been solved

I have no idea what this is supposed to mean. Are you claiming that the phrase “intelligent design” solves “the design mechanism”? Or that the “intelligent design movement” has offered any solutions at all? Perhaps you aren’t making headway because you’re treading mush with a sieve.

this leads me to my next question; is there anything in the universe that is so non-complex that it couldnt possibly have had a designer?

Neither high nor low complexity per se mandates design or non-design. And what could or couldn’t possibly be has little bearing on biological theory, which is grounded in actual empirical observation.

this leads me to my next question; is there anything in the universe that is so non-complex that it couldnt possibly have had a designer?

No. There’s no way to infer such general design. Humans use halfassed heuristics to detect design. It often works, sometimes doesn’t. Here’s a curious example. If you run traffic simulations, a brainless algorithm can hit on improvements like synchronizing lights. But in vegas, the lights are intentionally out of sync, to slow traffic down and encourage people to stop at the casinos. So a brainless process found the designed-looking solution, while the more random-looking system was actually ‘intelligently designed’.

You have to have, as ID sympathizer del Ratzsch said, lots of side info to decide if something was designed or not. Simple notions like Dembski’s don’t cut it.

thanks for your help; i think im outta luck and im out $50. Even my pastor said that it was a sucker bet that i could figure this out.

Pro, you should claim your $50, simply by noting what I wrote above: “ID is a completely bogus and fraudulent political program; it has no intellectual merit”

There’s nothing else to figure out.

Perhaps if we had the precise wording of the bet …

the bet is a violation of the law “dont play cards with a man called “doc”. well i was playing cards with a man called “doc” and after i bungled a probably easily makable game he allowed that i didnt seem to be very highly evolved. i replied that i was in fact intelligently designed. He scoffed and wagered me $50 that i couldnt tell him what the scientific theory of intelligent design was and i was given 6 months to find it. this led me to phil and mikey and then to billy and after a long and painful journey to PT where my worst fears have been confirmed. it isnt the money its the humiliation. my time is up now its been fun but.…..

where my worst fears have been confirmed

Your worst fear being that you’re out of $50? No, you say not. Or humiliated by your own arrogance in betting with someone obviously more knowledgeable than you? That shouldn’t be feared, but welcomed; the world would be a sorry place indeed if it worked the other way around.

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on July 30, 2005 6:48 PM.

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