Intelligent Design Lacks Fertility

| 54 Comments

Various terms have been used to describe the simple observation that ID is scientifically vacuous, and devoid of content.

In the meantime, we work with the premise that the Darwinian model is the best model for apprehending evolutionary biology. We believe the Darwinian model has proved itself the most fertile. It leads to new knowledge, which demonstrates its fertility. The difficulty with the Intelligent Design and Creationist models is that they lack fertility. They fail to produce progressive research programs. In a scientific sense, they cannot produce testable models. We believe that the dialogue with theology must take place with the best of science, not with a substitute that is a philosophical position and not science at all.

Martinez Hewlett and Ted Peters, Who Sets the Evolution Agenda?Theology and Science, Vol. 4, No. 1, 2006, pp. 1-3

54 Comments

Impotent Design aka “if you can’t get it up, then make it up.”

One technique I use is “suppose they win”. In this case, “suppose ID wins”.

In this scenario, ID wins and Evolution is no longer considered a viable theory. Of course, even this is hard to deal with as the IDers like to move the fence (the fence they invented) between macro and micro evolution so they get all the glory and evolution does all the actual explaining. But if we just imagine a world in which ID theory must actually carry the whole load, what next?

I’ve only come up with two responses, and they are:

1. Ugggggggghh ??????? 2. Let’s invest all that research money in Bible studies.

Infertile is a good descriptor. ID’s fecundity as a research generator has shewn itself to be of staggering insignficance. Impotent is another good descriptor. ID is powerless to explain things or expand our horizons. I don’t like the term “hot air,” because you can actually do work with hot air. Like, say, float around in a giant basket, or run a heat engine. Hot air is both energetic and useful! Anybody who has ever equated ID to blowing hot air owes hot air an apology.

Let’s make a comprehensive list. What other terms can we use to describe ID? -Vacuous -Infertile -Impotent -?

I’d like to submit “inert”, in the sense of “possessing zero energy”. ID’s proponents (the well-known ‘cdesign proponentsists’) are chock-FULL of energy; it truly boggles the mind that they are unable to impart one whit of that to their proposal.

ID is also “inert” in the chemical sense, as it refuses to form compounds with any other possible explanations or to react in any meaningful way with its environment, continuing to insist on its unique and noble character.

i’d like to propose the 2-word adjective “wilfully ignorant”

feckless

Lucrative.

I wrote about the infertility of anti-evolutionists (David Berlinski in particular) a while back: Berlinski: What trees does he plant?

It’s the métier of IDists to cut down trees, not plant anything in their place, and then complain because there are no trees.

Ineffective Blank Inane Content-Free Sterile Unproductive Barren Hollow Pointless Futile Profitable

… and laxative.

ah.… Jim in Berlinski’s case it’s not infertility that his problem is..it’s all jouissance and no place to put it. The goddesses just won’t have it.

Syntax Error: mismatched tag at line 1, column 152, byte 152 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.12.3/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187

k.e.,

It’s not Berlinski’s personal fertility or lack thereof; it’s the fact that the mounds of dung he leaves behind have no seeds in them.

I always used to ask, “What do ID scientists DO all day?” Never got an answer from them.

“What do ID scientists DO all day?”

Hmmm “ID scientists” That’s a trick question isn’t it?

… the Darwinian model has proved itself the most fertile.

Just following instructions - “Be fruitful and multiply… have dominion over everything the creeps on the Earth in which there is life…” (Genesis 1:29)

chartreuse

How about “The poop, the whole poop, and nothing but the poop”.

I always used to ask, “What do ID scientists DO all day?” Never got an answer from them.

Here’s someone who must know: Critics and Analyses of ID

… If a critique is proposed in a public discussion forum on the Internet, proceed with caution. Researchers should avoid getting bogged down in public discussion forums, in general. I avoid heavy involvement in public discussion forums like the plague. They generally do not bring any benefit to research, and drain valuable library and lab time. Frequently, there are users waiting to pounce on any response from the ID researcher, creating a rhetorical entanglement that only serves to embarrass and trap the ID visitor into a long and protracted point-by-point exchange that makes no progress on any discussion details. Email correspondence or closed discussion boards are probably a better option. …

No specifics given, but this person, using the pseudonym “Wiglaf”, clearly implies that he does ID research.

Strange, I just checked PubMed Central, and “wiglaf” doesn’t pull out any of his publications.

The real problem is that they don’t deal in scientific cause and effect matters. They have a “Cause”, and purported “Effects”, but there is no meaningful connection between the two.

It is as simple as that. They can’t do anything with their “Cause”, because it is (deliberately) undefined and it is not admitted to be what it appears to be, RM + NS (+ the rest, of course). If we were to try to figure out what the Designer was from the evidence, we’d suppose that it was evolution and/or a “designer” utilizing genetic algorithms. But they won’t allow that, hence one starts with a meaningless “designer”, and one is forbidden to characterize the “designer” via its purported “designs”.

They can’t do anything with the “Effects”, either, except insofar as they suppose that the “designer” followed evolutionary strategies (meaning that they sometimes do piggyback off of science, but then they have to attribute evolutionary effects to a superfluous “cause”).

Neither cause nor effect have any bearing on each other, and they couldn’t do science with ID even if they sorely desired to. Of course they don’t have much desire to do science with ID, since the whole point of ID is to avoid the implications of science.

Actually, that’s the simplest formulation for why ID is infertile. IDists reacted against the fertile science, and came up with a model that avoided the implications of the evidence. And it didn’t lead to vigorous research and breakthroughs?

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Syntax Error: not well-formed (invalid token) at line 1, column 59, byte 59 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.12.3/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187

The Big Tent strategy doesn’t allow scientific content. Any proposed ID model of the development of life on earth would surely have to choose between 6,000 years and 4 billion years. Whichever one they pick would eliminate half their supporters. So they’re stuck saying that “Your theory is wrong” is a theory.

I’m curious; how can “the best of science” have a dialogue with theology when modern science is based on the assumption that there is no supernatural element to the universe? Besides, many scientists would be as ill-equipped to discuss thelogy or philosophy as many pastors would be to discuss the latest findings in neurobiology.

I’m curious; how can “the best of science” have a dialogue with theology when modern science is based on the assumption that there is no supernatural element to the universe?

That’s not correct. Science does not assume that there is no supernatural element to the universe. Science assumes that the workings of the universe can be explained by a set of laws that describe observed phenomena. Science has been incredibly successful using this approach. However, science is neutral on the existence of a supernatural entity in the universe.

Besides, many scientists would be as ill-equipped to discuss thelogy or philosophy as many pastors would be to discuss the latest findings in neurobiology.

That’s true. In fact, you don’t see scientists demanding that their views on religion be given equal time in church, do you?

djlactin Wrote:

i’d like to propose the 2-word adjective “wilfully ignorant”

One of my friends uses the phrase “wilful pig-ignorance” to describe the mindset of religious whackos. I always thought it had a nice ring.

when modern science is based on the assumption that there is no supernatural element to the universe?

You’re going to run into problems with definitions. If there is anything supernatural, would it be said to be in the universe, or outside it?

In a scientific sense, they cannot produce testable models.

This is the wording I like to see.

ID simply CAN’T produce testable models. Thus, not even a scientific hypothesis.

It’s vacuous/nonfertile/stupid because it lacks any “reprodcutive organs” to begin with.

“Let’s make a comprehensive list. What other terms can we use to describe ID?”

mendacious

Evil

Interesting perspective on ID at http://www.edge.org/documents/archi[…]edge183.html

where Jason Lanier Wrote:

“The New York Times, of all places, has recently published op-ed pieces supporting the pseudo-idea of intelligent design. This is astonishing. The Times has become the paper of averaging opinions. Something is lost when American Idol becomes a leader instead of a follower of pop music. But when intelligent design shares the stage with real science in the paper of record, everything is lost.

How could the Times have fallen so far? I don’t know, but I would imagine the process was similar to what I’ve seen in the consulting world of late. It’s safer to be the aggregator of the collective. You get to include all sorts of material without committing to anything. You can be superficially interesting without having to worry about the possibility of being wrong.

Except when intelligent thought really matters. In that case the average idea can be quite wrong, and only the best ideas have lasting value. Science is like that.”

ID has no balls at all!!

If you hang out at Uncommonly Dense long enough, and hear enough from Davetard, DougMoron, GlennJ, and the like, you’ll start to think ID stands for “I’ma Dumbass”

What do ID scientists DO all day?

Public Relations

… and give talks to the credulous

oh, and they write books

…and then they laugh all the way to the bank.

philistine

What ID lacks in fertility, it more than makes up for in futility. Perhaps the boys need a dictionary.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Never mind the bollocks. Here’s the Discovery Institute.

(With apologies to the Sex Pistols).

First of all, thanks for your civility, Laser. All too uncommon when discussing this subject. I still disagree with you, however. I would argue that there is a defacto assumption of the absence of the supernatural in the scientific method itself. Add “measurable” to “observed phenomena”. Science measures things with use of the five senses or tools that extend them. Since the supernatural is, by definition, “outside of the natural world”, it is automatically excluded. Science, as a discipline, may be neutral regarding a “supernatural entity”, but humans usually are not.

My second comment had to do with the hypothetical “dialogue with theology” proposed in the excerpted article above, not with the current culture wars. However, if both churches and classrooms opened their doors to sincere people of opposite views, there might yet be some sort of dialogue. And wouldn’t that be amazing?

I would tend to agree that there is a de facto assumption of the lack of the supernatural for the very fact that, to date, there has been no evidence of the supernatural (as anything other than imperfect knowledge). Also, the supernatural has not provided any greater explanatory power of observable phenomena, other than pointing out that we have imperfect knowledge and need to do more research.

You’re welcome, Rob. I realize that you disagree with me, and I realize that I’m probably not going to convince you, but you are not correct about the reason that science does not look for supernatural causes. For an example, consider my field of study, chemistry. Chemists have developed theories that explain why chemical reactions take place, at what rate, when they stop, etc. One could postulate that angels (or any supernatural entity) are pushing the atoms around, causing them to react or not react in certain ways, but what good does that do? What level of increased understanding is achieved by such a hypothesis? Absolutely none. Science does not exclude a supernatural entity; it just recognizes that there is no necessity to invoke such an entity to explain measurable or observable processes.

I’m not sure what your getting at in you comment that people aren’t neutral toward the existence of supernatural entities.

Regarding your second comment, my point is that calls for dialog are often motivated by “I want my religious beliefs taught as science.” You seem to be a person of good will and may not have that motive, but I’ve seen it enough times to be rather cynical. Also, numerous leaders of various faiths have made public statements about intelligent design. I think that there is a dialog taking place.

Jim Of course we are getting our metaphors crossed when you said:

k.e.,

It’s not Berlinski’s personal fertility or lack thereof; it’s the fact that the mounds of dung he leaves behind have no seeds in them.

He seems to have the uncanny habit of himself or his prophylactic show up in another guise e.g. tango(half way down) to defend him/himself.

Perhaps a better pseudonym would have been Trojan or to continue your metaphor a suitable pseudonym would be Cyclops

Good Morning, Laser. It is indeed a pleasure to discuss things with you. No, you probably won’t convince me, but let’s try this: how would science test the postulate that angels push atoms (or anything else) around? If angels are supernatural and outside the natural world, how would science even begin to measure that? You and KiwiInOz are absolutely correct: there is no need to invoke anything that can’t be observed and measured. Hence, the defacto assumption.

By the way, thanks for your honesty, KiwiInOz. I think your comment was right on.

As for the neutrality issue, just substitute the word “God” for “supernatural entities” and my meaning should become clear.

Finally, leaders in science have made comments regarding religion, too. Face it, there are fundamentalists on both sides of the religion/science debate. But if people of good will, as you put it, can discuss things like this then there can be a real dialogue, not a media-inflamed mud slinging contest.

Now, totally off subject, expanding gas is great! We’ve got a rocket that’s propelled by baking soda & vinegar. What a blast. (Poor pun. Sorry)

Have a great day.

I am afraid that for once, PvM has got this one wrapped around his neck. ID must be extremely fertile. Being completely full of sh*t, my gardener assures me it would make an ideal fertiliser.

Rob Rumfelt Wrote:

Hence, the defacto assumption

What assumption? If the existence or non-existence of supernatural entities makes no difference, then scientists have no reason to assume their non-existence, or to even consider the issue at all.

Science does not exclude a supernatural entity; it just recognizes that there is no necessity to invoke such an entity to explain measurable or observable processes.

Rob, perhaps you focused on this part of what Laser was saying instead of the rest, which was far more important.

Not only is there no necessity to invoke supernatural explanations, but there is no practical value in doing so.

As a way to better envision this, why don’t you try to come up with a supernatural explanation that isn’t superficially as far fetched as the “angels moving atoms” concept.

why not take a look at real world examples? There have been several studies funded by the Templeton foundation looking at whether there is a positive effect of prayer on healing.

ever see any of those?

If you haven’t, I could dig up the references for you, if you like.

not to spoil the results, but if you take a look at them, ask yourself: What if they found a positive effect of prayer?

what would that mean?

Intelligent design lacks fertility… its supporters, unfortunately, do not.

Rob, that is an interesting question. If someone told me that there was a hypothesis that they wanted to test that involved angels pushing atoms around, what would I do? I would ask them: What are these angels? What are they made of? How do they push? What is their source of energy? Those types of questions need to be answered to even know where to begin to test that hypothesis.

I agree with KiwiInOz and also with secondclass.

I agree that people are not neutral with respect to God. The difficulty is that there are numerous religions that revere different God(s). Many of these religions claim that theirs is the “one true God.” Who is right?

I also know that there are scientists, such as Dawkins, who attack religion. I’m not convinced, however, that the “wrongs” of the religious fundamentalists and the anti-religious scientists are equal. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t agree with anti-religious scientists. I don’t think that they have come anywhere close to the egregiousness of religious fundamentalists.

But if people of good will, as you put it, can discuss things like this then there can be a real dialogue, not a media-inflamed mud slinging contest.

On that, you and I are in complete agreement.

And, I agree that baking soda and vinegar rockets are quite fun!

Re “I am afraid that for once, PvM has got this one wrapped around his neck. ID must be extremely fertile. Being completely full of sh*t, my gardener assures me it would make an ideal fertiliser.”

ROFL!!!!

Laser, right. Not only i n science,b ut also in philosophy one ,by reason of parsimony, has nouse of a deity.It won’ t do for theists to claim a two category distinction as Russell Stannard does with his origins and creation categories as that has the same failure as the contingency and necessary being form-begging the question[ For more commnent on the failure see Malcolm Diamond’s and Kai Nielsen’s books on philosophy of religion, not as ad veuncundiam]. I n my first blog here, I demonstrated why teleology and natural selection are cnotradictory. All I see from theists is obfuscation and gibberish. I rest in my Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism/humanism/ rationalism. Onward naturalist inquirers, not the Christian soldiers of obscurantism!

STJ: I appreciate your comments, particulary the ones about the recent studies on the efficacy of prayer as a healing instrument. Just so you know, there is a method to my madness of choosing “angels moving atoms” as an example. Biochemistry boils down to chemical reactions at the molecular level. Mutations are, fundamentally, chemical processes. When Behe and others argue that God/time traveler/space alien stepped in and created irreducibly complex structures, they are essentially arguing that angels moved the atoms around.

Morgan-Lynn Lamberth: I appreciate your comments, too, but I have difficulty following your sentence constructions. Is English your native language? (I mean no disrespect.)

Thanks for your patience with me, Laser. Obviously I’m not a trained scientist. I still think the “assumption” issue is about distinctions with little difference, but we’ll leave that alone for now.

I also would like thank Sir Toejam for his good-natured attempt to enlighten me. (By the way, I used angels because Laser brought them up first!) I think you come close to the crux of the whole science/religion conflict when you ask “what would that mean?” And from there, a whole can of proverbial worms is set loose!

Finally, I won’t be drawn into a discussion of whose “wrongs” are the most egregious. That inevitably degenerates into “your side did this” and, of course, “well, YOUR side did that!” And it goes downhill from there. I don’t want to jeopardize the goodwill that’s been generated here the last couple of days.

I will say this, however. When you talk of the “wrongs” of the religious and anti-religious not being equal, remember: right and wrong are moral issues and there are no mathematical equations to refer to when making comparisons.

Thanks for the invigorating conversation. Look forward to doing it again sometime.

All the best!

uh… ok…

If I remember correctly, I think Morgan-Lynn has explained that she has a mild disorder of some kind–dyslexia or attention or something. She usually makes excellent sense if you just go to the trouble of pulling some of her words and sentences apart in different places than she has joined them together, and mentally supply some uppercase and punctuation.

But I, of course, increasingly have a memory disfunction, so if I have remembered awry in this case, and there is a different explanation, my apologies to Morgan-Lynn…

Re “they are essentially arguing that angels moved the atoms around.”

And here I thought that was Maxwell’s demon…

Henry

I thought Maxwell had a silver hammer … ?

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PvM published on May 31, 2006 1:16 AM.

How many species 3: an answer, and some more questions. was the previous entry in this blog.

If You Seal It Off, They Will Evolve is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Categories

Archives

Author Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.361

Site Meter