John Wise: Intelligent Design is not science: why this matters

| 107 Comments

John Wise, a biology professor at SMU has written an opinion on Intelligent Design

John Wise Wrote:

Quoting Johnson’s own words, “The objective is to convince people that Darwinism is inherently atheistic, thus shifting the debate from creationism vs. evolution to the existence of God vs. the non-existence of God.” In other words, don’t allow this to be about creationism-ID versus science. Make people think this is all about a choice they have to make between God and science. This is deceptive at best.

ending with a brilliant reminder

The foundations of Intelligent Design are in politics and religion, not science. The nature of what we have learned about our physical world does not have to conflict with our faith and understanding of the spiritual domain. Don’t let your faith become dependent on the politics of flawed pseudoscience.

107 Comments

ID is a scientific theory, as is neo-Darwinism, but both have serious philosophical implications.

The strong correlation between neo-Darwinism and atheism is undeniable. Dawkins, for example, bases his atheism primarily on the ND theory of evolution.

Some ID opponents try to argue that science and philosophy are independent – but how can we wall our beliefs off from empirical data? I am skeptical when people claim to believe in God, even though their philosopy says the universe is dead and mindless.

Religion is not a reason to believe in ID. It’s ridiculous to accept a scientific theory just because it supports your prefered philosophy.

But ID suggests that the universe is alive and intelligent, and is therefore compatible with spiritual philosophies.

Science is a method for improving our understanding, so how can we avoid applying it to philosophy and religion? It’s impossible to separate our beliefs about the world from our scientific investigations.

I am reminded of an experience I had during a recent “debate” on biology and religion; when asked the question (near the end) whether they believed in the separation of church and state, both of my opponents answered “no”.

That is the heart of issue, isn’t it, and perhaps worth raising at the beginning rather than at the end of future debates.

Oh, great, a troll made the first comment. Now I have to scroll past it every time I check out the comments on this post. Way to go, troll.

whether they believed in the separation of church and state, both of my opponents answered “no”.

Great question. Theocracies have been tried many times before, many places. They are usually miserable failures. The countries with the most fanatics right now are drenched in blood, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the ME in general. The one time the USA tried a theocracy was Salem Massachusetts. It didn’t last long but did manage to hang 33 people for witchcraft. A shining moment in American history. It isn’t surprising that these christian cultists don’t know their history any more than they know their law, morals, or science.

It also won’t happen here (cross fingers and hope). This is an extremist position far outside the US norm and they would have to overthrow the US government and change the US constitution first. Then of course, there is the question of which cult rules. I believe sectarian violence has a long history. The Christian Taliban versus Catholics, versus Protestants, versus Mormons, versus .……If it happens, I think I would move.

Good science doesn’t give a flying, one way or another, about being ‘compatible with spiritual philosophies’.

Grow up.

One can easily tell the difference between scientists and the ID/creationists just by looking at their typical behaviors in putting forth their ideas.

If a scientist believes he/she has something exceptionally significant to contribute to the scientific enterprise, he/she will submit it, along with evidence, to the most prestigious scientific journal and expect to receive critical review from peers who know the scientific issues. Any scientist submitting an important idea to the community knows he/she is expected to know the issues being addressed and what is the current state of knowledge. He/she expects to be held scientifically accountable and welcomes this responsibility.

On the other hand, the ID/creationists dodge peer review, seeking instead kangaroo courts with creationist “judges” or choreographed debates in front of naive audiences. They enlist political followers to introduce bills in Congress or state legislatures, seek to change the composition of school boards and boards of education, complain about closed-minded scientific cabal and activists judges blocking their ideas, attempt to change the definitions of science and evidence to encompass their ideas, game the peer review system, pollute the public understanding of the current state of science by tossing out barrage after barrage of misinformation and misconceptions about scientific evidence and theory. When caught, they try to pull a chameleon act in order to appear they have changed even though they are playing the same game. Evidence never counts for them or their ideas. They don’t see scientists as colleagues keeping them honest, but as enemies who keep them from achieving their objectives. This kind of crap has been going on since at least the 1960s and shows no sign of changing.

All of these ID/creationist behaviors fit nicely the patterns associated with other fakers and abusers of science.

The suggestion that the Universe is alive with intelligence is not a theory.

That is, as you wrote, realpc, a suggestion.

If you, realpc, can describe the theory of ID to us then you will win the Nobel Prize for ID because, so far, even the so-called ID propontents have not been able to do it.

I’ll even be helpful and suggest that you start with a quantifiable definition of “design.” What is design and how can we measure it?

We’ll go from there.

Hurry, realpc, because I’m holding my breath.

Hint: contact Paul Nelson. You can find him at the nearest Waffle House.

realpc Wrote:

But ID suggests that the universe is alive and intelligent…

if so ,does it (the universe) believe in God or is it an atheist? does it feel lonely? how does it pass its time? I guess football and sex is out of the question. or maybe it isn’t The universe but only one of the many parallel cosmoi. so sex and football may be again possible for it. then I’m curious,are there any cosmical sexual positions that may be regarded as a superstring sin? how about sexual orientations and preferences? are there around any gay parallel cosmoi? and when watching a football match on hyperspace tv what kind of beer does it enjoy? is there a favourite superquantum brand that it prefers? and how does it pay for it when shopping at the local Planck supermarket? does it own a feynmannian Visa,or a hawkingian Mastercard? if it owns one of the latter I would suggest to it to be very cautious cause very recently their company announced that , due to recent galacticoislamic terrorist attacks, they had misplaced and perhaps lost crucial customer information inside ultramassive black holes. like the one between your ears dear realpc.

Now I am confused. What is a troll?

ID is a scientific theory, as is neo-Darwinism, but both have serious philosophical implications.

ID is a scientifically vacuous ID which is used to mask the philosophical implications. Let’s not confuse ID with science now shall we.

Ah Intelligent Design, explaining everything and predicting nothing, compatible with any philosophy that makes no concrete predictions, defined not by what it is, but by what it is not, and wholly unconcerned with the source of the design it supposedly studies, in journals that can’t find enough contributors to continue being pubished. IDers are the kid who claims he can fly, but only if no one is watching, and who could beat everyone up if he could only be bothered with such a “pathetic” task.

Just try imagining a scientist studying an alien artifact having no interest whatsoever in the nature of the alien that designed it. That is the absurdity of calling Intelligent Design “science”, and is easily understood by anyone exposed to it. It is good that people like Mr. Wise emphasize this.

Thanatos, that was priceless.

realridiculoustroll wrote:

The strong correlation between neo-Darwinism and atheism is undeniable.

Too late, I already denied it, based on both my personal beliefs and the wisdom of the believers I’ve met throughout my life.

It’s also a bit late to tell it to the Catholics, Lutherans, and all the other denominations – Christian and non-Christian – who explicitly accept evolution and have reconciled it with their beliefs. As long as you believe that at least one God created the Universe, the question of HOW he/she/they do it is rather minor.

Dawkins, for example, bases his atheism primarily on the ND theory of evolution.

So what? If Dawkins based his atheism on germ theory, would that make germ theory wrong?

I am skeptical when people claim to believe in God, even though their philosopy says the universe is dead and mindless.

Who, specifically, are you talking about? Of all the people I’ve heard saying the universe is “dead and mindless,” most of them have been Christians trying to tell me that nothing had any value but their God and his plan for all Mankind.

The question has been asked, “how can we wall our beliefs off from empirical data?”

The answer is to look, experiment, record, look again, experiment, tell someone, let them look, listen, discuss, experiment and accept what you have found. The secret to doing this involves resisting the urge to decide what the answer should be before completing the above in favor of observing what the answer actually is, or most reasonably resembles.

Ah, “reasonably.” Here, grasshopper; this is what you must discover.

ID is a scientific theory, as is neo-Darwinism

Oh Goody! I’ve been waiting for it!

Since there is now a theory, please tell me what it is, concisely and clearly, so I may go forth and test it.

I’m so excited! It’s like Christmas! ID can finally deliver!

Go ahead, please. just fill in the blanks

“The theory of ID is.…”

“…the positive evidence supporting this theory is …”

“… and you can test it thusly.”

It’s sad to see Wise repeating the usual ill-considered mantra that

Science can tell us only what is governed by natural forces.

Their evidence is philosophical, not scientific.

What’s the difference between philosophical evidence and scientific evidence? Either there is sufficient evidence to justify a conclusion or there isn’t.

If we call ID science, we will have to redefine science to include supernatural causes and effects.

Allowing “supernatural” (whatever that means) causes in principle does not mean that we have to accept the existence of supernatural causes. It depends on whether there exists sufficient evidence in any particular case. At present there isn’t sufficent evidence to justify accepting any of the entities which are typically labelled “supernatural”, so nothing would change in practice. But we shouldn’t rule out as a matter of principle the possibility that such evidence might be found in future.

It’s not ID’s allegedly supernatural conclusion that makes it unscientific. It’s the lack of any supporting evidence.

I agree that it does not have to conflict with our faith and understanding of the spiritual domain. We need to consider everything before engagin into battle.

I wrote:

What’s the difference between philosophical evidence and scientific evidence? Either there is sufficient evidence to justify a conclusion or there isn’t.

Of course, it may well be true that philosophers have a lower standard than scientists of what constitutes sufficient evidence. ;)

Slighty off topic (but not really) I just got my PNAS Early Edition email this morning and I see that the papers that are a result of the Colloquim entitled “In The Light of Evolution I: Adaptation and Complex Design” are not available. I am sure some of the papers will be touching upon this subject to some degree, for instance “Darwin’s Greatest Achievement: Design Without A Designer”. I haven’t had a chance to go through them all yet but if you have access to PNAS online I suggest you check them out. A good opportunity to see what REAL science has to say about the appearance of design and complexity in the natural world and exactly how it arises.

Unlike ID “theory” which just points to it and yells that it must mean there is a designer all the whole plugging their ears so they won’t hear the scientific explanations.

Richard, what constitutes evidence, if there are no constraints placed on them? For ID, _everything_ constitutes evidence of design. How do you dispute them?

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Anti Atheist -

If your issue is with atheism, why are you wasting your time here? A good fraction of the pro-science posters aren’t atheists. That was mentioned just above

“Sure, intelligent design gets into politics.”

An extreme understatement, but I’m glad you see the link.

“As if materialism and naturalism don’t? Dialectical Materialism, anyone?”

Throwing out a high school poli sci words doesn’t amount to an argument. I’m not aware of any creationists or pro-science posters here who are outright Marxists, nor would it be relevant to the major topics under discussion if they were.

If your issue is with Marxism, why don’t you go to a Marxist site?

“What is hilarious is the pretense that the atheists have no agenda here; and what is nauseating is their use of science as a front for their OWN agenda.”

Again, sheer nonsense. By the way, I’m not an atheist. Atheists are a diverse group, some of whom support various agendas.

You don’t even take the trouble to say what the “agenda” you claim exists actually is, either, making it nonsensical.

Since you haven’t explained what the mysterious agenda is, or who you claim is advancing it, it makes no sense whatsoever to claim that “science” is being used as a “front” for it. Nor do you clarify the ambiguous terminology “used as a front”. Nor does any of this have anything to do with the fact that the evidence supports the theory of evolution, and ID is vacuous.

Your post is basically a string of high school political science terms, paranoid in tone but indecipherable, and not related to the topic at hand.

“What is hilarious is the pretense that the atheists have no agenda here; and what is nauseating is their use of science as a front for their OWN agenda.”

And just what IS the ‘evil darwinist atheist agenda’ then, anti?

Richard Wein -

I can’t agree that the following statements constitute an “ill-considered mantra”…

“Science can tell us only what is governed by natural forces.”

“Their evidence is philosophical, not scientific.”

They are both imperfect statements, but only mildly so. Lenny Flank used to point out that science can and does study subjects considered “supernatural” from time to time, but within the bounds of the scientific method.

But of course, science can’t study something as supernatural as the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or any other entity who has the power to do anything at any time for no apparent reason, and disguise its presence. There’s no way to differentiate between the wind blowing the curtain, versus the FSM moving the curtain, but simultaneously creating the exact illusion that it was the wind, at just the degree of precision required to fool the scientists’ instruments. And it’s well known that the FSM does that all the time.

The point you made about evidence is a valid one, but if people accept a non-disprovable propostion out of faith, and don’t claim to have any evidence, it’s moot. Also, it begs the question of what is meant by “evidence”. Philosophy and mathematics can evaluate many positions for which physical measurements are by definition out of the question.

Wise is 100% right, for this reason - If two people correctly accept the theory of evolution, based on knowledge and understanding of the evidence, and reject ID, based on recognition of its fraudulent and illogical nature, then that is that. Attempting to shift the debate to other issues, such as their possible disagreement on irrelevant (to the topic) religious matters, is changing the subject.

If someone tells you that the theory of evolution is not in conflict with their own religious or spirtitual beliefs, then you can just believe them, which is what I usually strongly recommend.

Or, you can stop what you’re doing and take the trouble to gain a thorough understanding of their beliefs, if they’re even willing to share them with you, which is a logical prerequisite to the argument that said beliefs are in conflict with the theory of evolution. (If, in the course of your careful studies, you find some core component of the belief that is in clear conflict with the theory of evolution, you can stop right there, I suppose. Such a conflict would pretty much have to be a dogmatic statement about the physical world.)

This second approach can be a daunting task. For example, Ken Miller is a Catholic. Catholic theology is dense and sophisticated, and dates back hundreds of years. You’d have to devote yourself to many years of study, in my view, to have the slightest hope of finding some unknown aspect of Catholic theology that puts it in clear contradiction of the theory of evolution. Sounds like a waste of time to me.

In my experience, most people who insist on a relgious belief that contradicts the theory of evolution are already delighted to admit that it does so.

The anti atheist:

What is hilarious is the pretense that the atheists have no agenda here;

Anti atheist posts his evolution=atheism lie quite often under a variety of aliases. He knows it is a lie. Repeating a lie over and over does not make it true, but it does violate one of the commandments, and makes him a bad christian.

It also insults the many people of all faiths who accept reality and evolution. But that is his real goal.

The anti atheist troll:

Dialectical Materialism, anyone?

What does DM have to do with evolution or science? As I recall it was Hegel’s idea that Marx used to explain history. In other words part of the communist ideology.

Anti atheist, you aren’t accusing scientists of being commies are you? The cold war is over, the commies lost bigtime. Your demonology list is 20 years out of date. Please call the Discovery Institute or Hovind and get the current list of updated thoughts for the 21st century.

PS: Do you want to abolish separation of church and state in the USA? That is one subject of this thread.

Richard Wein Wrote:

It’s not ID’s allegedly supernatural conclusion that makes it unscientific. It’s the lack of any supporting evidence.

Or even a clear statement of what that evidence is supposed to support that would make its “theory” something other than evolution. Even YEC can do that.

That this thread has degenerated into discussions of “dialectal materialism,” Hegel and Marx, instead of, say, “what exactly is ID’s position on common descent,” shows that ID is not just a scam, but a successful one.

“Anti atheist, you aren’t accusing scientists of being commies are you?”

I asked this the other day to a troll on the Dawkins forum. You’re not the same guy are you, anti?

Richard Wein in #174576 Wrote:

It’s not ID’s allegedly supernatural conclusion that makes it unscientific. It’s the lack of any supporting evidence.

What evidence could be presented that would not, by the very nature of that evidence, re-classify the phenomenon in question from “supernatural” to “natural?” IOW, doesn’t the existence of real evidence for a phenomenon disqualify that phenomenon as “supernatural?”

All of the professors in that graduate program were atheists. After I graduated I continued corresponding with one of them, and I was no longer afraid to express my interest in parapsychology, since I had already graduated. I was not surprised at his response — his mind was utterly closed on the subject. Just like everyone here. but no!, my mind was open,but no! my mind is open, but no! ,it was free,it is free,because I was free, because I am free,cause my mind is constanlty flowing, cause my being, I am flowing , in the fields that you the enslaved, in the fields that you the self-enslaved, in such fields you the poor-minded will never reach, in the fields that you the unwilling will never experience; and alas for you the unlucky, and alas for you the left back ,alas for you the ones that know not the truth; since the truth is with me,and since I am the truth; I have come to be one with the One and I have come to be one with the Many, I have come to know God, I have been known to God, and have found that the search was great,and have found that the quest was glorious, I have found that the hunt was flawless ,I have found that the hunt was unimportant; cause I am God,cause I’m the Universe,cause we the free are all God, cause we the free are all, the Universe; and the Universe is One,and the Universe is Many, and we are many and we are one,and so I have come to learn the beauty, so I have learned the future ,so I have become the beauty, so I have learned the past,cause the Universe is alive, cause the Universe is intelligent cause the flowers are the beauty,cause the living water is the divine, cause the rocks know their telos,cause the sand hears my talk, cause the stars know their calos,cause the galaxies around me speak the truth, cause the nebulae before me is beauty, cause the nebulae talk to me, cause the clouds before me is beauty, cause the clouds around me speak to me,c… hey, realpc, have you seen my joints?I know I’ve put them right by your bed but I can’t seem to find them…

Claus Larsen

I spent one of the last evenings of September 2002 attending a lecture by Dean Radin, author of “The Conscious Universe”, on the Upper East Side, Manhattan. Radin told about the Global Consciousness Project, which is described as:

Source

Does Realpc still consider himself a skeptic? Under what definition

Correlational research cannot prove causality, as well all know, or should know. Dean Radin knows that. But scientists learn from observing correlations, as well as from controlled experiments.

Radin does controlled experiments also, which of course is completely omitted from this skeptic’s article.

And no one here noticed the controlled experiments described in the premonition article. Subjects had physiological responses to stimuli before seeing them.

It’s easy to seem like a smart skeptic if you only criticize ambiguous correlational data. But that’s why parapsychologists also do carefully controlled experiments.

Controlled experiments are difficult to design and analyse well, and their result can be ambiguous. But the goal of scientists is, usually, to do experiments that give clear answers. And that is the goal of parapsychologists.

So if you want to be a real skeptic, look at the controlled experiments done by Radin and the handful of other practicing parapsychologists. You will find many that you cannot explain away.

Robert Park is a good skeptic, but he also cheated when it came to parapsychology. He never mentions any of the experiments that can’t be explained away as fraud or error. He probably hasn’t even bothered to look at the 100+ years of parapsychology literature.

Robert Park is a good skeptic, but he also cheated when it came to parapsychology. He never mentions any of the experiments that can’t be explained away as fraud or error. He probably hasn’t even bothered to look at the 100+ years of parapsychology literature.

Perhaps you can provide us with these experiments that Robert Park ignored?

Before you make accusations, would a real skeptic not do the research required ?

PEAR Experiments debunked, or why to be careful when dealing with statistics.

What does “non-materialist” mean?

Is gravity “materialist”?

How about electromagnetism?

The strong nuclear force?

Sodium/potassium ion-channel chemical reactions?

If so, why? If not, why not?

What would a non-materialist science look like?

What would it look for?

How would it explain its findings, if any?

How would any of this distinguish it from a materialist science?

Thank you.

fnxtr Wrote:

What does “non-materialist” mean? Is gravity “materialist”? How about electromagnetism? The strong nuclear force? Sodium/potassium ion-channel chemical reactions? If so, why? If not, why not? What would a non-materialist science look like? What would it look for? How would it explain its findings, if any? How would any of this distinguish it from a materialist science? Thank you.

I think you erroneously suppose-hypothesise that these guys have passed the 1+1=..? stage-level of education. It would be easier for them if you din’t use so many pollysyllabic words. In fact in order for them to understand you should only use the following three monosyllables: god-did-it

fnxtr Wrote:

What does “non-materialist” mean? Is gravity “materialist”? How about electromagnetism? The strong nuclear force? Sodium/potassium ion-channel chemical reactions? If so, why? If not, why not? What would a non-materialist science look like? What would it look for? How would it explain its findings, if any? How would any of this distinguish it from a materialist science? Thank you.

I think you erroneously suppose-hypothesise that these guys have passed the 1+1=..? stage-level of education. It would be easier for them if you din’t use so many pollysyllabic words. In fact in order for them to understand you should only use the following three monosyllables: god-did-it :-)

sorry for double posting

realfalse Wrote:

I got two different graduate degrees, one in a small private college and the other (a PhD) in a big university. In the small college I said exactly what I believed in my papers and that was fine. Some of the professors were non-materialists and they liked what I had to say. At the university, I saw right away that it was an authoritarian environment. Professors got upset at any hint of a disagreement with the status quo. I had to be very careful and politically correct if I wanted to graduate.

Spouting off about non-materialism in COMPUTER SCIENCE PAPERS? He claims to be a “trained scientist”, elsewhere a “computer scientist”, remember? Doesn’t add up. There’s a reason Europeans use the word “informatics”, computer science is part of mathematics, not science as we commonly use the word.

I think our troll is simply lying.

RealPC writes… I’m a computer scientist

Wait - You’re a computer scientist!?!

Then why did we have that stupid circular argument last month about evolutionary algorithms and what they are?

Completely aside from whether or not you agreed with them - how could you have possibly not known about one of the hottest subjects of the last decade in your chosen professional field?!?

realpc is best described by these lyrics by Billy Bragg:

His lack of humility defies imaginiation – He hangs around like a fart in a Russian space station.

From what I’ve read of him here, this describes both his attitude, and the freshness and “substance” of his ideas.

The degrees were in different subjects. I know it’s hard to believe someone could study more than one thing.

I don’t have a reason to lie about any of this.

Neither did Michael Martin.

The Troll dissembled thusly:

I don’t have a reason to lie about any of this.

Of course you do. Your every argument smacks of argument from authority. “I believe…”, “I think…”, “To me…”, “Nobody knows…”. Well, who the f*ck are you, that we should place value on your opinion or evaluation of what nobody knows?

Frankly, I doubt you have even one PhD, much less two. I’ve crossed paths with a few PhDs in my day, and you sir, are not of their caliber. You seem incapable of following along with any moderately complicated argument without making blatant errors (ie making shit up), or speaking in detail on any subject. You just don’t have the intellectual goods.

The quality of trolls around here–meaning, mostly, their entertainment value, with some peripheral potential for educating the audience–has really dropped lately.

And given such stellar alumnae as Larry Farfromsane and Dr. Michael Maroon, that’s an awful low bar to limbo under.

But such as realpc, Grady, Joe G, and AntiAtheist appear to have reached a new low in trolling technique.

Way to slither, guys!

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on May 9, 2007 2:41 PM.

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