The scientific vacuity of Intelligent Design

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Once again Ed beat me to the punch…

I have at various times pointed out how scientifically vacuous Intelligent Design really is. While Ed has already discussed the NY Times article, I would like to focus on two statements which show again how vacuous ID really is scientifically.

John West Wrote:

“The future of intelligent design, as far as I’m concerned, has very little to do with the outcome of the Dover case,” Mr. West said. “The future of intelligent design is tied up with academic endeavors. It rises or falls on the science.”

Charles L. Harper Jr., senior vice president at the Templeton Foundation Wrote:

The Templeton Foundation, a major supporter of projects seeking to reconcile science and religion, says that after providing a few grants for conferences and courses to debate intelligent design, they asked proponents to submit proposals for actual research.

“They never came in,” said Charles L. Harper Jr., senior vice president at the Templeton Foundation, who said that while he was skeptical from the beginning, other foundation officials were initially intrigued and later grew disillusioned.

“From the point of view of rigor and intellectual seriousness, the intelligent design people don’t come out very well in our world of scientific review,” he said.

So, what is Intelligent Design, if it is not scientifically relevant?

Ronald Numbers Wrote:

Numbers said that at heart, the proponents of intelligent design “want to change the definition of science” to include God, an issue he predicted would end up in the Supreme Court.

“One of the most successful PR campaigns we’ve seen in recent years,” he added, “is intelligent design.”

Story: Academics consider “intelligent design” museum talk

Not surprising the DI PR is spinning its wheels again with John West accusing the author of misrepresentations. The mainstream press finally is seeing through the politically motivated Wedge Strategy and realizing that it has no scientific relevance.

Dembski ‘responds’ with

The Templeton Foundation promotes, as Stephen Jay Gould used to criticize (see here), a form of syncretism between science and religion. I frankly doubt that there is one research paper published in the natural sciences (I’m not talking about medical journals that discuss the efficacy of prayer in healing) that acknowledges the Templeton Foundation as having provided essential research support (e.g., in the form of salaries for lab techs, lab equipment costs, etc.) for that project to be completed. Templeton supports research in that fuzzy new discipline that it has largely invented, known as science-religion, and not in science per se.

Which makes it even more surprising that ID has not managed to submit proposals for actual research to the Templeton Foundation… After all, isn’t ID covered by Dembski’s description of Templeton’s discipline: A largely invented concept based on a confusing use of the term complexity which is scientifically vacuous?

Dembski continues

I know for a fact that Discovery Institute tried to interest the Templeton Foundation in funding fundamental research on ID that would be publishable in places like PNAS and Journal of Molecular Biology (research that got funded without Templeton support and now has been published in these journals), and the Templeton Foundation cut off discussion before a proposal was even on the table.

Fundamental ID Research published in PNAS and JMB? What could this possibly be referring to? Axe’s work?

Extreme functional sensitivity to conservative amino acid changes on enzyme exteriors. J Mol Biol. 2000 Aug 18;301(3):585-95.

Estimating the prevalence of protein sequences adopting functional enzyme folds. J Mol Biol. 2004 Aug 27;341(5):1295-315.

Is this the kind of fundamental ID research Dembski is talking about? Was it not Axe who commented that he did not consider this research much relevant to ID?

Axe (2000) finds that changing 20 percent of the external amino acids in a couple proteins causes them to lose their original function, even though individual amino acid changes did not. There was no investigation of change of function. Axe’s paper is not even a challenge to Darwinian evolution, much less support for intelligent design. Axe himself has said that he has not attempted to make an argument for design in any of his publications

Intelligent design in biology has been supported by several peer-reviewed journals and books, including:

See also: Bill Dembski and the case of the unsupported assertion

A new institute? I wasn’t finished with the old one!

Seems that ID’s fundamental research is mostly about showing under which circumstances natural selection is unable to explain particular features. Of course, ID’s explanation remains fundamentally absent. But that should not be a surprise to those familiar with Dembski’s viewpoint on this topic:

Dembski Wrote:

As for your example, I’m not going to take the bait. You’re asking me to play a game: “Provide as much detail in terms of possible causal mechanisms for your ID position as I do for my Darwinian position.” ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories. If ID is correct and an intelligence is responsible and indispensable for certain structures, then it makes no sense to try to ape your method of connecting the dots. True, there may be dots to be connected. But there may also be fundamental discontinuities, and with IC systems that is what ID is discovering.

The scientific vacuity of Intelligent Design is self-evident. If the future of ID depends on the science as West puts it, ID is is in real trouble.

P.S. While I had correctly guessed the name of the author, on closer scrutiny the papers Dembski may have been referring to is the JMB paper which mentions the Discovery Institute’s support:

D.A. was the recipient of a fellowship from the Discovery Institute.

Douglas D. Axe, Nicholas W. Fostera and Alan R. Fersht An irregular β-bulge common to a group of bacterial RNases is an important determinant of stability and function in barnase Journal of Molecular Biology Volume 286, Issue 5 , 12 March 1999, Pages 1471-1485

The PNAS paper does not mention any such support.

230 Comments

We have a new piece, on Intelligent Design this week that I think you will find fascinating reading. Chalk us up as one group of Christians not buying Intelligent Design.

looking at the Reuter’s article linked to above, I came across this paragraph.

Intelligent design holds that some aspects of nature are so complex they must be the work of an unnamed designer or higher power, as opposed to the result of random natural selection as argued by Darwin.

“random natural selection”? Someone has missed the point.

looking at the Reuter’s article linked to above, I came across this paragraph.

Intelligent design holds that some aspects of nature are so complex they must be the work of an unnamed designer or higher power, as opposed to the result of random natural selection as argued by Darwin.

“random natural selection”? Someone has missed the point.

EDIT: bizarre double post, sorry.

That caught me too.

I was explaining some of the various niches in pacific Northwest coastal waters to a group of 8th graders last year and I was pointing out the fish that adapted to sandy bottoms and how there were several species that had adapted to it in different ways. Here I was thinking that I was about to go into a discussion of these ecosystems when a kid piped up “You’re gonne try and tell us that these things evolved aren’t you? You can’t tell me that this fish was just swimming along and all the sudden developed a way to lie on its side that just happenned to help it in a specific place.” Or something close to that. I was flabbergasted. I was so unprepared for the remark that my reply was basically “No I won’t try to tell you that. Now, moving right along, these species evolved through selective pressures…” And I went into a 10 minute riff on the difference between a flounder and a halibut. I missed the opportunity to educate the other 29 kids on the different ecosystems. I only spent 5 minutes out of an hour on tidepools. Tidepools. The only part that they will probably ever come into contact with and I spend a lousy 5 minutes.

The other 29 had no problem with the evolution part.

Geez. Dembski’s alienated the premier baptist-affiliated college (Baylor), his would be allies in Dover (TMLC and FTE), now the Templeton Foundation*. He’ll have to be careful how he treats sycophants like Wormtail Salvador; that may be all he has left.

*Kicking around in the back of my mind somewhere is a vague memory that Dembski was crowing several months back about how he had just been conferring with the Templeton Foundation folks (in England, IIRC) in connection with their solicitation for research grant applications. If anyone can dig that one up, please do. I’m too busy today with actual science research.

There’s a bit of an unfortunate writing error at the begining there:

I would like to focus on two statements which show again how vacuous science really is scientifically

But I’m sure you mean:

I would like to focus on two statements which show again how vacuous Intelligent Design really is scientifically

The power of propoganda. The propoganda of Power. How did we get here again?

Either this ID thing is going to die on the vine, or it’s going to spread like cancer. Hopefully the former will happen, but if not, then we might start seeing newspaper, radio, and t.v. ads advocating ID (i.e. attacking the scientific theory of evolution). Does anyone think that there’s enough financial backing out there to start such a campaign? And would the scientific community be able to fund a counter campaign? Politics … ugh!

Mark wrote:

Either this ID thing is going to die on the vine, or it’s going to spread like cancer. … we might start seeing newspaper, radio, and t.v. ads advocating ID (i.e. attacking the scientific theory of evolution). Does anyone think that there’s enough financial backing out there to start such a campaign? And would the scientific community be able to fund a counter campaign? Politics … ugh!

If any ID campaign like that happens (it has in a way on the net, note those google ads you sometimes see when looking evolution info) it will promote books and videos, not ID itself.

The interest they generate will actually be good for selling pro-evolution books and videos so, smart publishers might take advantage of that.

ID may leave a lot of the public confused and wondering and it might undercut public funding of science – but in the end I think evolution has a much more fascinating story to tell than the stories ID has to sell.

I suspect there are people on this board now who will really owe IDiots a “thank you” for the publisher’s checks they’ll be getting in the near future.

Continuing from my previous comment, pretend for a moment that you are a leading proponent of ID (let’s say, someone from DI). Somehow you manage to secure the necessary financial backing. What’s your next move?

“Either this ID thing is going to die on the vine, or it’s going to spread like cancer. Hopefully the former will happen, but if not, then we might start seeing newspaper, radio, and t.v. ads advocating ID (i.e. attacking the scientific theory of evolution).”

I doubt this will happen. When ID was a general idea floating around as an alternative to Evolution, it received wide spread support from people who liked the idea of a scientific theory that supported their religious beliefs.

The more ID has come under scrutiny, the more it has become obvious that it is not science, and more importantly, that the ID proponents are less than honest. I believe this dishonesty is undermining their support in what should be ID’s core supporters - non fundie religious conservatives. However, these folks are smarter than IDers would like, and they do not think that “Lying For Jesus” is a good thing. They actually take the Ten Commandments seriously and their faith is strong enough not to require scientific proof. Further, most religious conservatives will be/are greatly offended when their faith is consider on par with Astrology, which is one of the requirements for ID to be accepted as science.

Mark asked:

What’s your next move?

If I were in charge, I’d get Dembski to study dolphin language – in a wet suit with lots of camera men. I’d get him out in the field to do some real science that could somehow make use of his design detection ideas. I’d push to fill up the real gap, the research gap, with some flashy stuff that will look good on film and TV.

I’d start undercutting my own attack on ID (which deals with artificial intelligence and defining intelligence) by admitting a natural intelligence could have evolved in the whole system of evolution or in cells that is mind-like – the “Gaia ID” option – in order to ditch the religion only complaint.

Russell: the trumphalist Dembski post about the Templeton foundation was probably this one?

http://www.uncommondescent.com/inde[…]/archives/19

I have a fairly dim view of the money Templeton is throwing around at science/religion, but their bashing of the IDiots is hilarious and entirely justifiable.

There’s a world of difference between Templeton’s moderate kooks in the mold of Teilhard de Chardin, and the Discovery Institute’s lying self-proclaimed geniuses.

Norman. Dembski studying dolphin language - that’s funny. But that would mean engaging in real scientific work. They’ve had .… hmm .… a decade or so to do this? I really hope this ID thing keeps getting hammered by the scientific community, but they’re more interested in the political side of this than the scientific side. It makes me a little suspicous of their real motives. Do you think that all these guys who leading proponents of ID really believe in the validity of ID?

Continuing from my previous comment, pretend for a moment that you are a leading proponent of ID (let’s say, someone from DI). Somehow you manage to secure the necessary financial backing. What’s your next move?

a) Real estate is always a good investment. b) Boxster S. Where sport begins. c) I’m going to Disneyland! d) Actual research? But it’s so hard to prove an argument from ignorance!

“Do you think that all these guys who leading proponents of ID really believe in the validity of ID?”

Reminds me of what my dad (a WWII Air Force combat veteran) used to say when Falwell, Swaggart or Robertson would show up on TV with their distortions and crude carny pitches for money: “They’ve got to be ATHEISTS to get up there and spread those con-artist lies without fear of retribution!”

:-)

Well, it looks like the DI funded a project. This is amazing. They actually funded research that was published in a reputable peer-reviewed journal. Too bad it had nothing to do with Darwinism, ID, or anything of the sort. But, hey, the grad students thank you for their stipend.

Yeah, they say “some” features, “certain” features.

This means that there are a limited number of “things” that look to them to be designed.

If they admit that most features of the universe and life are NOT designed, then how do they explain them?

All the non-flagella out there are the result of … what… to them?

It has to be Natural Selection.

They are Darwinists.

Hey Bayesian. I really like your idea for Disneyland - it would fit them to a tee. All make believe!

Hi Madam Pomfrey. Yeah, with all the flaws in ID (not to mention any credible evidence at all), makes ya wonder why these guys keep peddling it? It’s starting to look like some of these ID advocates like Dembski are knowingly lying, especially about any real scientific work.

Madam Pomfrey quoted:

“They’ve got to be ATHEISTS to get up there and spread those con-artist lies without fear of retribution!”

Never underestimate the power of delusion and mis-perception.

http://skepdic.com/blondlot.html

However, James Randi wrote a book on the faith healers. Some were just con artists, but people like Pat Robertson are probably psychotic - they say things that don’t serve their own self-interests at times… like suggesting assassination of foriegn leaders and such.

Mark

… they’re more interested in the political side of this than the scientific side. It makes me a little suspicious of their real motives. Do you think that all these guys who leading proponents of ID really believe in the validity of ID?

I think some do believe in the validity of ID, and still do.

But, yes, it’s political - they are what most of us would consider “Right-wing nut jobs” against environmental laws and pushing for a Christian theocracy.

Dolphins and Gaia are the kind of beliefs you find in people often considered “left-wing nut jobs,” which I really am closer to, and some ID concepts would fit into Gaia nicely – the planet isn’t only alive - it’s smart too.

The ID movement’s refusal to incorporate the Gaia option – the most natural link to ID on the left – demonstrates the ID proponents are using the ID concept purely for political and religious propaganda.

“Some were just con artists, but people like Pat Robertson are probably psychotic”

Point well taken. Based on the crank letters I get, most self-described creationists or “ID supporters” are just a) confused people who are afraid of what they don’t know, and don’t recognize bad used-car salesmen when they see them, or b) right-wing political fanatics who just see this as another way to bash the “left,” “scientists” and “professors” – lumping them all together, of course. In both (a) and (b) groups, one finds people who are clearly envious of science’s (and scientists’) standing in modern society and want to “bring [them] down a notch.” But some of them really are mentally unstable and delusional, and it says something that this type of personality is so well represented in “ID” circles.

This is over and above the simple fact that there is no scientific theory of ID – just assertions and (often book-length) essays circling those assertions. No amount of hand-waving, rationalization, or rhetorical tricks can change that.

Comment #61587

Posted by Mark on December 5, 2005 05:13 PM (e) (s)

Hi Madam Pomfrey. Yeah, with all the flaws in ID (not to mention any credible evidence at all), makes ya wonder why these guys keep peddling it? It’s starting to look like some of these ID advocates like Dembski are knowingly lying, especially about any real scientific work.

Are you aware that recently Bill Dembski got $200/hr for ‘consulting’? For $200/hr I’d promote Satanism.

I should add that there’s another type of creationist, who’s afflicted by what I shall call the “Behe Syndrome” – the engineer or scientist (almost always a non-specialist when it comes to evolutionary biology) who has gone through a born-again religious conversion and now desperately tries to cram the engineering/science into that framework. This person often becomes a vocal spokesperson for “ID” and attempts to give its religious assertions a scientific fiat based on his/her background and degrees. They depart from the scientific consensus not by their “radical” work a la Galileo or Pasteur, but because they have abandoned the scientific method and draw conclusions based entirely on conjecture and “interpretation” without experimentation (after all, one is only a scientist by virtue of doing science). Unlike their mainstream colleagues, they usually feel quite comfortable criticizing and lecturing on areas that are outside their specialty. Some of these have gotten tenure at major research institutions prior to evangelizing for “ID” and try to push “ID”-themed college courses under the radar. There aren’t too many of these (yet), but the public unfortunately doesn’t see the difference between them and their colleagues who are doing real research.

Continuing from my previous comment, pretend for a moment that you are a leading proponent of ID (let’s say, someone from DI). Somehow you manage to secure the necessary financial backing. What’s your next move?

Well, they are rapidly running OUT of moves. They’ve already tried to argue that creationism is science, and lost. Then they tried to argue that evolution was religion, and lost. THEN they tried to argue that ID isn’t creationism and is also science, and will very shortly lose. At the same time, they tried to drop ID/creationism altogether and just “teach the controversy about evolution”, and lost.

They don’t have very many options left to try.

I think their next step will be to try and apply the “Michigan move”:

“(a) use the scientific method to critically evaluate scientific theories including, but not limited to, the theories of global warming and evolution [and] (b) Use relevant scientific data to assess the validity of those theories and to formulate arguments for or against those theories.” http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/ne[…]0_4_2005.asp

This approach offers several advantages for them: they don’t have to talk about ID, they can kill two favorite right-wing-loon boogey-men with oen stone, and they can point to the “global warming” requirement and say “See! See! This bill is about SCIENCE, not religion!!!”

Alas for them, at some point in time they are going to actually have to TELL us, well, what all this “relevant scientific data” and “arguments for or against” are. Of course, the ONLY thing they have to offer is the same old creationist/ID crap that has already been ruled illegal. Which means they will fall flat on their holy little tookuses, yet again.

The fundies seem unable to grasp a rather simple concept —- it is simply impossible to preach to people while at the same time trying to hide the fact that you are preaching to people.

It’s why ID/creationism/anti-evolution, in whatever form, will never get anywhere. (shrug)

I have just recently discovered this site. I find it very interesting how the dialog seems to flow. It is almost completely a “look at the size of my brain” contest that is overwhelmingly one sided. Those who try to argue the science of ID are intellectually fighting a battle that they can not win. I believe that there is a God and that God created the worlds without number. I also know that to learn anything for ourselves and to discover treasures of knowledge, means to follow the scientific method. We can not accept the simple answer ‘because God made it so’ or ‘because it was designed that way.’ To do so would deny the fact that if things are the way they are because of the ‘intelligent design’ to which everything obeys, then what is that design, and how was it carried out. To learn how or why things are the way they are, we must approach science simply from our understanding. We cannot say that God caused it so. And if we are to acknowledge that there is a God, then how did he create every thing. My father explained to me once that to understand science or to understand God, then we must realize that there are natural laws and that only by operating in accordance to those laws can we achieve anything, and thus it is with God. It is by knowing how to operate with in the laws of nature that God created the worlds and everything found there in. If God did not follow these laws the very elements would rebel, because the elements only work within those laws. In looking to discover the secrets of this creation, we do not set the bounds. They are already set, we are only trying to learn what they are and how to make those boundaries work for us. Intelligent design can not replace scientific observations and theory. It is a matter of faith and faith is a hope of things which are unseen, which are true. You can not prove with science things that require faith. If we could, then there would be no challenge, no leap for us to make. I would state that following the same vein, science can not disprove the existence of God, but merely shed some light on how God works in the physical world. That is why God is ‘all knowing’, he already understands every thing we are still trying to learn. As you can see, this is indeed a circular argument. Why not accept that we are here to learn how things work, not to prove that there is or is not a God. I am an Science Lab Instuctional Assistant at the local J.C. and am also still a student.

Steve.

Yeah, the money’s important, too. But not all these IDers are making that kind of money. A loss for ID in the Dover case (let’s hope) will be a major setback for these scoundrals. Maybe the people that paid Dembski $200/hr will ask for their money back!

“It’s why ID/creationism/anti-evolution, in whatever form, will never get anywhere. (shrug)”

Rev Lenny, you’re wrong here.

ID, at least is definitely going somewhere. It is now possible to show that ID is not only anti science, it is anti Christian. From now on whenever anybody says they support ID, I will ask them when they abandoned Christianity. After all, according the ID proponents, Christianity is the intellectual equivalent of Astrology. The ID proponents themselves have stated this *Under Oath*.

The Dover testimony allows us to transform this issue from a Religion vs Science debate to an Id vs. Religion debate. IMO, it will be much easier to show an ID supporter the vacuity of ID in this manner, than to attempt to give them a sound science education in less that a year or so. Which is what we usually try to do.

I think we all owe the TMLC a debt of gratitude.

To me it’s like televangelism. You have your Jim Bakers (Dembski) and your acolytes (Cordova) who fund them. The greedy and the zealous.

My memory is fuzzy, but a few years ago there was a lot of talk about a final equation – wasn’t part of that also explaining why most of the cosmological constants had to have the values they had?

google “final equation” maybe… nope getting a movie.

Try “Steven Weinberg, final theory” for another way of exploring what Hawking called “did God have a choice?” – why are the constants what they are.

Heddle’s answer, btw, is “No, god didn’t have a choice, the only way he could have created life is with a CC between so and so…

Norman, I wish I could find the actual strip online, but this is from a Calvin & Hobbes: We hurl through an incomprehensible darkness. In cosmic terms, we are subatomic particles in a grain of sand on an infinite beach.

There was a punchline, too, but I only kept the first three frames.

Sincerely, Paul

Heddle said:

A common view at the moment is that there is no possible fundamental theory that predicts the constants—they really are something like a random draw. There is, in effect, no physics left to explain the fine tuning

I’ve been mulling this over for a while, trying to formulate my own position on the apparent fine tuning, which as been mainly that I don’t see a way to choose between what Heddle is calling “dumb luck” vs. a multiverse. It’s going to look like dumb luck to us either way.

But, and I address Heddle, if you’re still here: Is it possible that the CC is just an artefact of theory? ie, it’s a kludge, a possibly useful fiction that physicists of the future, armed with a truly unifying theory, will look upon the way we view epicycles or the luminiferous ether?

And, if so, perhaps there’s the difference btween “apparent fine tuning” and what you insist is the real deal.

CJ O'Brien Wrote:

But, and I address Heddle, if you’re still here: Is it possible that the CC is just an artefact of theory? ie, it’s a kludge, a possibly useful fiction that physicists of the future, armed with a truly unifying theory, will look upon the way we view epicycles or the luminiferous ether?

And, if so, perhaps there’s the difference btween “apparent fine tuning” and what you insist is the real deal.

Very good point. For instance there is an approach in which the fine tuning arises through selection. Yes, selection… Smolin has a theory in which random variation and selection resulted in the universe in which we live. Your suggestion that the CC is just an artifact of our present day theory causing science to have to refer to “epicycles” when in fact all we need is a better theory. If ID wants to fill that position then let it present its own evidence. But ID is scientifically vacuous when it comes to presenting any details.

Paul Flocken wrote:

”… from a Calvin & Hobbes: We hurl through an incomprehensible darkness. In cosmic terms, we are subatomic particles in a grain of sand on an infinite beach.”

There are a lot of artistic expressions of being humbled in the face of this vast universe – so many that artists can’t really take them seriously. I did my own version in an as yet unsold screenplay called “Planet of Doom” which can be found at:

http://www.triggerstreet.com

It goes like this:

Mankind, a tiny, insignificant life form in a vast universe… Man had for centuries huddled safely in the warm, moist bosom of the Earth. He sheltered his delusional sense of self-importance within the dream worlds of his religions and philosophies.

But as man’s science began to progress his religion and philosophy began to crumble. Man found himself faced with unanswerable questions and when he looked up into that night sky where he once imagined Heaven to be he found himself surrounded on all sides by icy infinities and the eternal darkness of space. Armed with his puny grasp of this new scientific knowledge and driven by unquenchable questions to cross this vast ocean of the night, seeking answers, man built atomic rockets and launched a new age of exploration.

Now, in the distant future, …

It’s actually a comedy and a spoof on the sci-fi films of the 1950s.

Oh Lenny,

YOU see my posts as focused on words and their meanings because YOU persist in distorting my words and those of certain other posters here so you can turn them at every opportunity into a polemic against the perceived enemies of science. So any discussion with you sooner or later is reduced to the meaning of words. Either you are just a good old dishonest charlatan or you are a very sloppy reader and thinker. Probably both.

In speaking of “ultimate truths” you ought to know exactly what I mean since I gave examples, such as the past and future of the universe and the origin of life. Science IS IN FACT VERY INTERESTED in the truths pertaining to these ultimate events, contrary to your assertion otherwise.

And your desceription of science as nothing but a method is the notion of a simpleton. Things get settled or resolved in science, at least temporarily, via the scientific method. But as a very human activity, the body we refer to as “science” includes ideas and theories still in progress and even as they incubate in the human mind, with the goal of ULTIMATELY arriving at the TRUTHS behind the riddles of the universe. I do not accept your arbitrary boundaries as to what constitutes “science”, and I am entitled to my own more expansive definition. If an idea is based on available data it is science, provided we are ready to reject or modify it if and when new or additional data is obtained. That’s what defines the body of knowledge (not a method) we call science.

But as a very human activity, the body we refer to as “science” includes ideas and theories still in progress and even as they incubate in the human mind, with the goal of ULTIMATELY arriving at the TRUTHS behind the riddles of the universe. I do not accept your arbitrary boundaries as to what constitutes “science”, and I am entitled to my own more expansive definition. If an idea is based on available data it is science, provided we are ready to reject or modify it if and when new or additional data is obtained. That’s what defines the body of knowledge (not a method) we call science.

Is it an activity, or a body of knowledge?

I’m with the Rev Dr. on this one. The body of knowledge is the result of the activity, engaged in with strict adherence to the method, which is what sets science apart from other human activities that might also produce bodies of knowledge.

Carol, you are blithering again.

I do not accept your arbitrary boundaries as to what constitutes “science”, and I am entitled to my own more expansive definition.

(Once again, Carol wants to argue over words and the definitions/interpetations of words, thus demonstrating my earlier point.)

Carol, nothing on earth prevents you from having your own private definitions for anything you want. If you want to define religion as “science”, go right ahead. Heck, if you want to define mammals as contianing “fishes”, go right ahead. No one can stop you.

But if you try to insist that OTHERS adopt your private definitions, don’t be surprised when they look at you as if you are a stark raving lunatic.

Your definitions of words, Carol, don’t mean diddley doo and have no power over others. None at all. (shrug)

Contrary to your belief, there is a Theory of Intelligent Design which is supported by evidence which can be found at Intelligent Design Theory . It is interesting that such a theory has been ignored in the recent debate and court case. Then again the proponents of intelligent design may be unaware of it and think that it is just creationism!

Please just answer me one question, david g: I read your piece there, and I’d like to know, if telepathy and psycho-kenesis are real abilities of the human mind, why hasn’t anyone, anywhere, demonstrated that they can be deployed usefully?

And picking cards slightly better than random guessing in highly dubious, poorly controlled experiments that have not been successfully replicated will not do for “useful.”

The usual answer about ghosts, you know, is “they go away when you don’t believe in them.”

I expect silence, or mumblings equally feeble, but go ahead, surprise me.

PS to regulars: it’s good for a laugh, I guess, but it ain’t no theory of– well, anything. A waste of time.

david.g, on his web page, wrote:

It is difficult, if not impossible, to convince a person who has been blind since birth, that you can observe an object miles or even millions of miles away. It is equally difficult to describe a spiritual experience to a person who has never had one. Keeping this difficulty in mind, the University of Manchester, in a large scale survey, found that 10 percent of those surveyed, had had at least one out-of-body experience. While the 10 percent would fully accept the reality of the spiritual realm, among the remaining 90 percent, would be the skeptics who couldn’t accept anything that they themselves hadn’t experienced. This leads us to the second misconception.

Actually, your fisrt sentence in that paragraph is a misconception. Do you really think blind people don’t believe in the moon and stars? Blind people do understand the power of sight. You ought to do a little research before you repeat fundy bovine fecal matter like that. Maybe read some writting by Helen Keller. There are blind from birth people who can even draw and paint pictures.

It’s quite easy to prove to a blind person you have such powers. And if you’d bother to think about it at all you realize that.

And if telepathy or other psi phenomena existed they would be easy to prove too. And if you can - you could get a million dollars from James Randi:

http://randi.org/research/index.html

Another thing to consider is that Michael Persinger can re-create religious experiences using a magnetic helmet.

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/[…]nger_pr.html

to david.g

As atoms are vacuums, then molecules would be vacuums, and then so too are objects.

So, matter is just vacuums? Then I suspect you are going to tell me a Neutron star is just a vacuum??? The only REAL vacuum is between your ears.

Contrary to your belief, there is a Theory of Intelligent Design which is supported by evidence which can be found at Intelligent Design Theory .

It’s drivel. (shrug)

Lenny: “My conclusion has always been that this is because most fundamentalists, of whatever religion, actually don’t worship a God —— they worship a Book About God instead, and are too dumb to tell the difference. In effect, they are idol-worshippers, who have give a particular Book divine powers that only a god should have.”

As usual Lenny hits the nail right on the head. It’s what Huston Smith called “Bibliolatry.”

The only way for fundamentalists to say their assertions are “scientific” is by changing the definition of science, ergo Carol’s rhetorical devices (and Kansas). Alas, there is no magic word that will change reality – outside their heads, that is.

I lost. Made a bet with my wife on how long David Heddle could stay off. The over/under was 24 hours. I said 36 to 48. My wife laughed. Said his ego wouldn’t let him stay off for even 24. She was right. She usually is.

David Heddle wrote Christopher

Okay, I’ll stop. But your comment should be directed at everyone else. One reason someone like me becomes a “troll” is the N on 1 problem. I am responding (at least for the most part), not initiating. Check and see if I first commented to PvM, Wislu, Flint, you, Lenny, Aureola, k.e., ogee, etc. or if they (you) first commented to me. In other words, you should be telling them (yourself) to stop feeding the troll.

Now, where have I heard this before? Oh yeah, Adam in the Garden when he gets caught. “It’s not my fault…it’s the woman that you gave me.” As opposed to David’s (the king, not Heddle) response to Nathan when he’s caught in adultery and murder. “I’m a scumbag.” One is a man…the other’s a weasel. Not too tough to figure out which is which.

I try to be a polite guest when I’m here. I hope you regulars will bear with me for a few minutes. I like the “Rev Dr. Lenny”. He’s dead on with his pizza boy analogy. No one’s opinion is any more valuable than anyone else’s. But, with apologies to the good “Rev”, I’m going to steal his pizza boy for a few to explain why I’m here.

There are all kinds of fast food places out there. Burger joints, taco joints, pizza places, etc. Which one is best? Personal taste. Even if you like pizza, there’s a lot to choose from. It’s my personal opinion that you should try a few before you make up your mind. I did. I’m satisfied with my choice. My choice. Everyone has the right to choose.

David Heddle claims to work for the same pizza company that I work for. We’re both pizza boys. Everyone in our company gets a manual. Some of the things in it are open to interpretation. “Hair must be neatly groomed at all times.” Neatly groomed means different things to different people. OK. “You must wear your company issued shirt, pants, and hat at all times.” No opinions here. Wear the uniform all the time. Period. Now, a hundred or so pages later in the manual, it says, “Never wear a pink bunny suit, or ever attach any pink bunnies to your uniform.” Pretty self-explanatory, right?

Now, what do pizza boys do? They get called to make deliveries. With our company, you’re not supposed to assume (‘cuz you know what that makes out of you and me) why you’re delivering. Maybe they’re going to eat the pizza. Maybe not. Not your job. Follow the company rules, drop off the pizza, be polite, and leave. Simple. Phone number’s on the box. They can call if they have questions. So, one night you’re making a delivery. You see a guy at the house you’re delivering to. Company uniform. Pink Bunny Suit on underneath it. Pink Bunnies sewn all over it. A fifty foot tall Pink Bunny stuck to the hat. Wow. This isn’t good. You don’t want to embarrass him. Maybe he’s new to the company. You call him at home.

“Do you know you’re not supposed to wear pink bunnies?” “Yeah…I know…talk to the owner for me, will ya?”

Now it gets worse. The guy’s got a big neon sign pointing to his house (blog spot). Not only does he wear the pink bunnies there when he has guests, he claims to be a trainer for the company. A trainer. Fortunately, his damage to the company is limited when he stays home. But, the guy can’t stay home. He just can’t. And the bunnies just keep getting bigger.

Now, the manual tells you that if people don’t like you because you work for the company, that’s OK. But, it also tells you that if they don’t like you because you’re wearing pink bunnies, it’s bad for you and the company.

The reason I posted on this site the first time was very simple. It seems that the vast majority of people who claim to work for the pizza company (at least the ones who promote themselves the hardest) suffer from EPBS. Extreme Pink Bunny Syndrome. Not only does it make it harder for us regular pizza boys, it makes the owner look bad. Besides being a pizza boy, I actually am a trainer. Don’t want to be because I don’t like the responsibility. I looked up “screw up” in the dictionary. Just has my picture…and the cross references suck. They’re true though. But, if you get the job…

All of these EPBS guys want to prove they’re working for the right company. The manual says you can’t. Evidence and proof are two completely different things. In fact, the manual says you can’t know until you retire. I could elaborate about the differences between gnosis and pistis, but you PT regulars seem to grasp it much better than the vast majority of my fellow pizza boys. I have tried to point out, in private, to a great many well known pizza franchisees, and their delivery boys, that they are violating company policy. They don’t care. They all seem to have their own motives, none of which have anything to do with the pizza company, or its owner. Pretty sad.

I am going to ask you PT regulars to do me a favor. You don’t have to, and I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t. I know it’s hard enough to ignore someone who comes into your home uninvited. Harder still when they’re rude. I know the whole EPBS makes it dang near impossible. Please try. I know it’s harder still to stomach the big franchisees who want to make pizza in your restaurants. I don’t blame you for being pissed off. You don’t cook pizza in a burger joint. That’s why we have pizza places. Those of us who actually work for the company try to follow the manual. We seem to be fewer and farther between, and we don’t court the press. We don’t try and force our pizza on anyone. If you ask why we like it, we’ll tell you why we like it. Not why you should, or why you shouldn’t eat what you eat. Or, why you should come to work for our company. This isn’t Amway. Hard to tell now days, but its not.

I hope you’re not offended by this, but you’re actually performing a valuable service by laughing at the EPBS guys out there in public. I know the owner will deal with them eventually, but He takes His own sweet time. Not how I’d do it, but…I just work here. Maybe, if you ignore the guy in the pink bunny suit in your home, he’ll go away. He seems to crave the attention, so maybe if it stops…nah.…who am I kidding?

Thanks for letting me use the pizza boy. He looks pretty angry and confused though. Said your tips were lousy enough, now this…keeps muttering, “Would you like fries with that?…yeah, that sounds better…no more pizza for me…”

Thanks Christopher Blake PBA (Pizza Boy Abductor)

Pizza Boy Abductor

Please don’t abduct my pizza boy until AFTER he has delivered my double-cheese with mushrooms. I’m awfully hungry.

:>

Norman Doering Wrote:

At the heart of our modern cosmology lies a truth so monumentally horrifying, an ultimate context to all our human our striving, that this universe becomes hideous to contemplate.

I think that no greater appreciation of life and its experience arises than from the realization that it is but a bubble in a void. There really is no logical reason for a true-believing Christian to not kill himself as soon as possible…

Oh wait. Suicide is a sin. Convenient, that. Dead men pay no taxes - or tithes.

Ptui! Ptui!

Dang, I hate those gags! Ack!

OK, now that that‘s behind us, I need to convey a Very Important Piece of Information, something you may not have known before now, but which could save your life in the immediate future–it doesn’t matter where you stand on evolution, politics, the war, the latest Supreme Court nominee, who’s gonna win the Super Bowl–we truly don’t care what your motivation is, just don’t abduct the pizza guy! We have a VERY SCARY Pizza Employees Benevolent and Protective Association. You do NOT want to mess with our, um–dues collection personnel, shall we say?

Let me be perfectly clear about today’s lesson: don’t abduct the pizza guy!

(To those of you who knew “Christopher Blake PBA” in life, the PEBPA offers its sincere condolences on your loss. We hope you took advantage of the opportunity to convey your sincere feelings to him the last time you saw him. If not, that’s a chance you won’t be getting again anytime soon. Regards, your PEBPA: “Working to get your Pizza to you, day or night, as fresh as home cooked, only faster.”)

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PvM published on December 5, 2005 11:49 AM.

Dembski on Templeton and ID Research was the previous entry in this blog.

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