Del Ratzsch

Del Ratzsch presented a lecture “Could ‘Intelligent Design’ be Legitimate Science?” Tuesday, Oct. 12, at 7 p.m. in the Benton Auditorium in the Scheman Building (Iowa State Center) as part of the Areopagus Lecture Series ISU (corrected from an earlier reference to God at Work at ISU) While Del Ratzsch argues that ID may hold promises, he also remarks that so far ID has failed to make much of a case. Not surprising since ID lacks any scientifically relevant hypotheses.

The Iowa State Daily reported under the headline Intelligent design theory merits regard, speaker says

Ratzsch’s speech was based on the question, “Could Intelligent Design be Legitimate Science?” His conclusion was that intelligent design deserves attention in the scientific community as it competes with naturalistic evolution as a possible explanation for why things are the way they are.

He stipulated that he didn’t mean he espoused the claims of intelligent design theorists.

“I don’t think the design case has yet been convincingly made,” Ratzsch said. “I think that design advocates have raised some intriguing issues.

Intelligent design theory merits regard Iowa State Daily

Del Ratzsch wrote:

Whether a thing was designed can be determined without knowing who – or why or how – did it, he said.

Intelligent design theory merits regard Iowa State Daily

But as I and others have shown without knowing means, motives and opportunities, an eliminative design inference is inherently unreliable.

and some disappointment

Jonathan Shier, junior in philosophy, said he came to the lecture to hear a “professional” account of intelligent design.

He said Ratzsch’s speech and responses to questions addressed the legitimacy of intelligent design “only in the broadest sense that it could possibly be a question we need to keep in our minds.”

What did Jonathan expect?

Del Ratzsch’s comment mirror his sentiments expressed during an ISCID chat

I think that one can be honestly convinced that design offers no significant scientific promise and that it represents significant scientific risk. In fact, I believe that there are Christians who believe that, and who originally came to the debate not particularly predisposed to hostility.

I think that some are certainly too far in the materialist direction, and they claim that science backs them up on that. ID can at least serve a ‘keeping em’ honest’ function, even if nothing else. I think that ID may very well have things to offer science, but I think that it is too early for ID to claim that it has done so. I don’t think that it is just obvious that ID will contribute substantively to science, but I think it has that potential, and that it should be pushed as far as it can be made to legitimately go.

Del RatzschISCID chat

Del Ratzsch in his book “Nature design and science “

So typically, patterns that are likely candidates for design are first identified as such by some unspecified (“mysterious”) means, then with the pattern in hand S picks out side information identified (by unspecified means) as releavant to the particular pattern, then sees whether the pattern in question is among the various patterns that could have been constructed from that side information. What this means, of course, is that Dembski’s design inference will not be particularly useful either in initial recognition or identification of design

Del Ratzsch Nature design and science p. 159

“I do not wish to play down or denigrate what Dembski has done. There is much of value in the Design Inference. But I think that some aspects of even the limited task Dembski set for himself still remains to be tamed.” “That Dembski is not employing the robust, standard, agency-derived conception of design that most of his supporters and many of his critics have assumed seems clear.

Del Ratzsch Nature design and science

What if ID proponents became aware of what scientists, including ID proponents have to say about the ID movement?

Unfortunately “popular” presentations of “Intelligent Design” have tended to give the impression that it rested solely on mathematical demonstrations. Anyone who could have succeeded in showing that natural selection is incapable of generating biological structures according to standards from mathematics or logic would have constructed a mathematical proof that would have dwarfed Godel’s famous Undecideability theorem in importance. As one who read Dembski’s original manuscript for his first book, found much to like in it, and had appreciative remarks on the dust jacket of the first printing, I can say categorically that Demski surely has shown no such thing, and i call upon him as a mathematician to deny and clarify the implications of this advertising copy.

Wimsatt on Yahoo Evolutionary Psychology discussion group