25 January 2006

How can you tell it isn't science?

Let's say that you are someone who is interested in science, knows a bit about it, but aren't an expert. You might be someone who reads a lot of popular science books, or who watches a lot of science programs on tv. You might read a lot of science fiction. It's even possible that you are a science fiction author.

You have heard a bit about the whole intelligent design thing, but you may not have been following it closely - particularly when it's not in the news. You are also at least a bit disposed to root for the underdog. It's a better story, and you know that it has been real sometimes. People really did laugh at Fulton and the Wright Brothers, and some scientific theories have faced opposition from entrenched opponents. So how do you know that this isn't the case with Intelligent Design? Why should you trust us when we tell you that the ID people aren't really doing science, and that their real motives are much, much more political than scientific. Why shouldn't you believe the DI's claims that we represent an entrenched "Darwinian orthodoxy?"

There are many different arguments that I could make right now, and many of them are valid. These range from the fairly basic ("Their arguments are just plain unscientific") to the completely obscure ("A simple Bayesian probability analysis can show that it is extremely unlikely that someone whose 'scientific theory' is being mocked is actually right"). Which argument you find to be the most convincing may vary. Personally, I think that the most damning argument can be made just by looking at what the Discovery Institute has published.

I've written about the Discovery Institute's list of documents that they claim as supporting ID before. The last time that I did, they were calling it a list of "peer-reviewed and peer-edited" publications. The last time I talked about their list, I pointed out that not only is "peer-edited" a term without scientific meaning, but that some of the publications on their list didn't even rise to that anaemic standard. The current title of the list is "peer-reviewed, peer-edited, and other scientific publications," but the items on the list are the same. I think that attitude says a little something right there - slap a new label on it, and everything will be fine.

But let's set that aside for a minute, and look at their claims. The list, as I have previously noted, contains some items that are trade press books. It contains some articles that are found in the philosophy literature. It lists a book as one item on the list, then goes on to use every chapter in the book as a separate entry. It even lists some articles both in a "featured articles" section at the start of the list, then lists them again later on. The total number of entries in their list, duplicates included, is thirty-four.

That's not a lot by scientific standards. Last semester, I wrote a review article for a class that discussed the geographic modes of speciation observed in Hawaiian insects and spiders. That's a limited group of organisms, living in a very limited area, and I was only looking at one aspect of evolution in the group. I still wound up citing 124 separate articles - almost four times as many as the DI lists as supporting their position. As a scientist, I do find the lack of publications to be a significant strike against them, but I can understand that a non-scientist might not see the significance as clearly.

So, instead of comparing the scientific output of the Discovery Institute to the scientific output of scientists, I'm going to compare it to something else. Let's see how their scientific output stacks up against their public relations machine.

In addition to containing a list of "scientific articles" supporting ID, the Discovery Institute lists favorable news articles. Some of these are written by reporters or op-ed columnists not affiliated with the Discovery Institute. Others are written by DI fellows. Many are press releases issued by the DI.

Let's see just how their PR output stacks up against their scientific output. To do this, I combed through the list of articles linked above, and counted only those articles that were both related to evolution or ID and that were written by someone affiliated with the Discovery Institute. What I wanted to see is how long it would take for me to reach a total of thirty-four of those articles - that's the same number as the number of items (duplicates included) on their list of "scientific" articles.

The first of the articles is dated today, and the 34th (working backward) is dated 10 November 2005. That's a period of 77 days. That works out to a rate of about 0.44 press releases per day. Now, let's look at the scientific output. The first article in the list of scientific articles is dated in 1985, but I'll be generous and round it to an even twenty years. If you do the math, that puts the scientific article production rate at 0.0046 per day.

Let's look at that again:
Press Releases: 0.44/day
'Scientific' pubs: 0.0046/day

To me, that's the comparison that shows the Intelligent Design Movement's priorities far more clearly than almost anything else. This is a group of people that are pumping out press releases and op-eds at about 100 times the rate that they are producing material that they claim is scientific.

One hundred times more PR than science. Still think Intelligent Design is the noble scientific underdog, fighting against the entrenched orthodoxy? Are they Fulton with a PR firm? Or are they just trying to conceal a political and religious agenda behind a (very) thin veneer of science?


Press releases/op-eds:
(1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34)

96 Comments:

Anonymous thordaddy said...

Mike, (I tried to post this a PT,where I apparently can no longer post. Is this the MO for dogmatic evolutionists?)

Let us establish some groundwork first.

The claims are thus:

ID isn't science and,

ID is religious.

This means science isn't religion. Of course, both science and religion share a fundamental essence. Both intelligent endeavors seek to give meaning to what is known (empirical evidence). So how then can the above formulation be correct? It can be correct in only a very limited interpretation. A "scientific" interpretation, that is. It's simplistic nonsense pushed upon public at large.

The only meaningful difference between science and religion is the interpretation of empirical evidence. Science, believing the superiority of its interpretation, has done nothing more than limit the scope of empirical evidence to that which is "observed" and thereby limited its technological progress to that end. It gives explicit meaning to particular things but by no means gives any meaning to all things. It can claim that ID is not science because there is no empirical evidence for ID, yet it must concede the possibility of an IDer. How can this be the case with NO empirical evidence? The answer is very simple. ID has empirical evidence that simply lies outside the constraints of science and even the scientists know as much because they are intelligent. This is why they concede the possibility of an IDer.

This little spat of course does nothing to dissuade the public at large to demand of science all that it has promised. Science has bitten off more than it can chew by pretending only he could give meaning to the universe. He must admit that all his prowess still CANNOT muster a definitive answer on the most important question. All he can do is concede the possibility and then hope ambiguity persists. This is the limitation science refuses to admit.

Furthermore, science has deluded itself into believing it is the only game in town instead of just one of the many players in a much larger game. Scientists seem oblivious to the fact that judges have essentially defined modern science and the bureaucratic US public school is manipulating science to satisfy its social goals. Science is a tool at other people's disposal and scientists merely justify the means to other people's ends.

11:52 PM  
Anonymous thordaddy said...

Mike,

You seem to be making the fundamental mistake in believing that ID must been enclosed by the constraints of science. You are going on about how ID hasn't cleared this scientific hurdle or that scientific hurdle while oblivious to the fact that science is being defined and manipulated by judges, politicians and other various actors who have no use for your limitations.

The point is that ID doesn't need to clear scientific hurdles, it need only humble this intelligent pursuit. If science can answer the question of an IDer in affirmative then ID need not become science because science has become ID. If science can answer the question of an IDer in the nagative... oh wait, it can't do that. It must concede the possibility with no empirical evidence thereby betraying the very essence of modern science.

ID's ultimate goal is to put science in its place by forcing it to recognize its limitation on giving meaning to life. Science must concede this most valuable point. In giving meaning to life, science is inferior to religion.

This is the battle, I believe.

12:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is this obsession with the "meaning" of life? I find whether the apple I'm eating for lunch is more important than whether or not life came into being via divine intervention or by the self-organisation of complex chemicals. It's a remote event that really doesn't impinge on me in any way.

If we are to be obsessed with the "meaning" of life, why not with the "meaning" of rocks, air, or any other non-living matter?

Whatever "meaning" my life has is something I give it or take from it - not something that either scientists or religions can in any way determine.

2:14 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

As for other ways to learn how to distinguish science from crankishness: There are some excellent resources out there for general readership. Martin Gardner's Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science is still a classic after nearly 50 years. There's also CSICOP's bimonthly Skeptical Inquirer, which is carried by a lot of libraries.

Warning buzzers go off in my head whenever I hear or read grandiose claims about the revolutionization of a field being made by someone who doesn't have any data. The buzzers get even louder if that person trumpets his outsider status. Yes, people can and do make major contributions to research outside their field of training, or if they don't have advanced degrees. But there's a big difference between "You know, maybe a mechanical engineer could help you refine your model of stress on the vertebrate skeleton", and "I'm going to revolutionize vertebrate anatomy and physiology -- I'm an engineer!"

2:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thordaddy- would you like to proceed to the "After the bar closes" forum on the Pandas thumb website, where a thread has been set up for you to dicuss things?

http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bin/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi?s=43d877072eeaaa56;act=ST;f=14;t=178

FAiling that, would you like to suggest how science can possibly give meaning to things? What is the meaning of a carbon/ carbon composite? What is the meaning of a supernova?

Anyway, its good of you to admit that ID is not scientific.

But I wonder, have you seen the large pink spider that sits on your ceiling above your computer? Its perfectly harmless, it doesnt eat humans.

2:58 AM  
Anonymous thordaddy said...

julie,

You make a serious mistake believing that science can continue to fight only on its home turf.

Modern scientific constraints were defined by a judge. Science is being manipulated for political purposes all throughout society. Scientists like their constraints, but no one outside them need heed their limitations as the above evidences.

Yes, most people don't care whether one theory say there was nothing and then life and intelligence sprung forth or there is life and intellgence because of an IDer. But these aren't the ones carrying on the battle.

The scientific box you are in may feel protective and resistent to outside violation, but you are merely deluding yourself. Science is constantly being violated, manipulated and used by more powerful outside forces. If science wants to survive the assault from these forces then it must give greater meaning to our lives. It must give more than "scientific" meaning.

3:10 AM  
Blogger Ginger Yellow said...

thordaddy, what are you blathering on about? Science doesn't claim to give meaning to the universe. Agents give meaning to the universe. And scientists admit the possibility of an IDer in principle because it's dishonest not to. An omnipotent IDer could have set the universe in motion to look exactly like a non-ID universe. Hell, an omnipotent IDer could have done that 5 seconds ago. We have absolutely no way to tell, and that is why supernatural causation is beyond the remit of science. What science does say is that there's absolutely no need for an omnipotent IDer, and no evidence for one either. If you choose to believe in one, as many scientists do, then fine.

As for your second post, it's gibberish. ID isn't about positing an IDer. It's about making specific assertions that x or y is evidence for an IDer. Time and again it has been demonstrated by scientists that these assertions are false. For instance IC systems can evolve, as Behe's own testimony at Dover amusingly showed. But the point is that disproving a particular assertion of ID does not falsify the proposition that there is an IDer, because unless that IDer is constrained, nothing can falsify it.

3:27 AM  
Anonymous thordaddy said...

anonymous opines,

>>FAiling that, would you like to suggest how science can possibly give meaning to things? What is the meaning of a carbon/ carbon composite? What is the meaning of a supernova?

--That's the whole point. All science can do is explain changes of velocity and make predictions. But judges, philosophers, teachers, politicians and activists have far more uses for "science" because they apply much more meaning than can reasonably be explained by this change in velocity and predictive power.

>>Anyway, its good of you to admit that ID is not scientific.

--You can't possibly make this statement unless you lie outside the confines of science. You are required to concede the possibility of an IDer, yet there in no "empirical" evidence for such justification. So how do you justify your concession by this betrayal of scientific standards? You must either step out of science or concede the empirical evidence of an IDer to justify your concession to its possible existence.

>>But I wonder, have you seen the large pink spider that sits on your ceiling above your computer? Its perfectly harmless, it doesnt eat humans.

--There is nothing within the contraints of modern science that would render the above possibility non-existent.

3:30 AM  
Blogger MissPrism said...

Very well said!

I made a similar calcualtion a while back:

Of the 25179551 articles on Web of Science (1981 present), as of 18 August 2005, and searching keywords, title and abstract:

805 articles mention homeopathy,
525 mention astrology,
226 mention Intelligent Design,
and 70 mention cellulite.

Most of the 226 are rebuttals and op-ed pieces, of course, but this indicates that even as a very generous estimate, the ID 'controversy' constitutes approximately ten parts per million of current science.

Assuming an hour of science lessons a day at school and a 45-week school year, "teaching the controversy" should be allocated seven and a half seconds per year of teaching. It's
only fair.

3:37 AM  
Blogger MissPrism said...

PS: But even ID is more scientific than L'Oreal SlimPatches...

3:40 AM  
Anonymous thordaddy said...

ginger yellow,

>>Science doesn't claim to give meaning to the universe. Agents give meaning to the universe.

--So why the fight against ID's pursuit to give meaning to the Universe. Does not the ID movement comprise of these agents that give meaning?

>>And scientists admit the possibility of an IDer in principle because it's dishonest not to.

--They admit to an IDer because they have observed empirical evidence of such IDer. In saying they have observed no empirical evidence, it is HONEST in principle to say no IDer exists. You say they cannot honestly do this? But it's because you have observed empirical evidence for an IDer, but not the kind that fits the constraints of science.

>>An omnipotent IDer could have set the universe in motion to look exactly like a non-ID universe. Hell, an omnipotent IDer could have done that 5 seconds ago. We have absolutely no way to tell, and that is why supernatural causation is beyond the remit of science. What science does say is that there's absolutely no need for an omnipotent IDer, and no evidence for one either. If you choose to believe in one, as many scientists do, then fine.

--Then why the big fight with ID when the notion of an IDer means nothing? Your explanation doesn't match the empirical evidence.

>>As for your second post, it's gibberish. ID isn't about positing an IDer. It's about making specific assertions that x or y is evidence for an IDer. Time and again it has been demonstrated by scientists that these assertions are false. For instance IC systems can evolve, as Behe's own testimony at Dover amusingly showed. But the point is that disproving a particular assertion of ID does not falsify the proposition that there is an IDer, because unless that IDer is constrained, nothing can falsify it.

--This argument belies the whole notion that the ID movement is meaningless to science. If it does not change science to have a theory of an IDer, why not just let the IDers have a theory and let everyone go home happy because it won't affect real science anyway?

3:49 AM  
Anonymous Red State Refugee said...

"ID has empirical evidence that simply lies outside the constraints of science."

How can such a thing exist? Isn't that rather like claiming to have visual evidence of the invisible?

4:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to clear up a statement I think is somewhat poorly worded, though I understand the meaning:

"What science does say is that there's absolutely no need for an omnipotent IDer, and no evidence for one either."

Throw in the line "using the naturalistic methodology of science" and you are fine. That's really the catch here. Science claims only to deal with that realm. It's not saying a designer is either necessary or not, or that there is evidence or not. It merely says that talking about such a thing and then creating "theories" about it is not science, which is completely justifiable. Otherwise, you are breaking the fundamental rule of science in order to do science, which is about as useful as burning books for literacy.

Consider this - you see a pot of water boiling on my stove, and you ask me why this water is boiling.

I could explain methods of molecular agitation and the scientific reasoning behind the boiling phenomenon.

I could explain that God created the universe and this water, and it was His will that it boiled.

I could tell you I wanted some tea.

All are, in theory, possibly correct at the exact same time. The point is that none are mutually exclusive and all are, in fact, answering a different question. Science doesn't tell us WHY the universe exists as it does, it just tells us HOW the universe exists as it does, to be precise about it. There is no scientific basis for making any sort of judgment about a supernatural creator in the positive or negative sense.

5:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thordaddy:
"There is nothing within the contraints of modern science that would render the above possibility non-existent."

But, heres the question, have you looked? Or did you just take my word for it? Or do you think it isnt there?

THordaddy said:
"You can't possibly make this statement unless you lie outside the confines of science. You are required to concede the possibility of an IDer, yet there in no "empirical" evidence for such justification. So how do you justify your concession by this betrayal of scientific standards?"

By pointing out that you cannot prove a negative.


"You must either step out of science or concede the empirical evidence of an IDer to justify your concession to its possible existence."

No, I just say "Well, it seems I dont have any empricial, scinetific evidence for a god." How is that stepping outside science?

Thordaddy:
"But judges, philosophers, teachers, politicians and activists have far more uses for "science" because they apply much more meaning than can reasonably be explained by this change in velocity and predictive power."

Examples please.
oh aye- I'm guthrie. And I'm not pleased to meet you.

6:04 AM  
Blogger Ron said...

(Can we lose the troll?)

Face it: Most people can't tell it's science (thordaddy is proof enough).

One of the (many) big differences between science and religion is that anyone can learn science for themselves. There is no need to depend upon faith or authority. Unfortunately, it's extremely difficult to learn it on your own. Religion, on the other hand, always depends upon faith and deference to authority.

What's confusing (confusion easily manipulated by conmen) is that the easiest way to determine what is science is to rely upon the expertise of others. But again, there's a difference. Experts in a area of science by definition can explain the science without relying upon arguments of faith or authority. Religious authorities, of course, rely upon arguments of faith and authority.

Finally, science is a methodology. When someone claims to be doing science, simply look at what method they're following. The intelligent design creationists' methodology is that of conmen, not science.

6:06 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Another metric is how frequently a scientific publication is cited by other scientific publications. Has anyone tried to find citations of ID literature by the real scientific literature? If you exclude reviews and self-citations, I suspect ID would fare miserably.

6:15 AM  
Blogger BWE said...

Thordaddy,
http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/01/another_religio.html#comment-75877
in answer to whay you aren't posting for now at PT.

It seems that Larry/Thordaady/M/pro from dover has derailed this thread a little. If you are just finding this article and are seriously wondering what all the hoopla is about, skip his posts.

The main idea I think is that science is a discipline where we measure things, draw inferences from the data, make hypothoses (guesses) about mechanisms that might have led to the data we measured, then if it's really cool science, we get to test our guesses by designing experiments that attempt to prove or disprove our mechanistic guesses.

That's it. Science can not collect data on god. The scientific discipline can not test hypotheses about god so it doesn't. If you think of a way, let me tell you, it will be a really big deal. However, the discipline can make lots of measurements of living organisms so we can design lots of tests to see whether evolution as a hypothesis washes out or stands up to the tests.

So far, 100% of the data and experiments have agreed with the hypothesis. Some experiments have provided modifications or clarification and some have simply reinforced the original hypothesis. At some point, especially when the data and experiments come from lots of different subdisciplines in science (geology, biology, archaeology, astronomy, physics, genetics, physical geography, etc.)and the hypothosis has stood up to all the critical analysis that other scientists have thrown at it, it becomes a theory, meaning you can safely use the mechanistic inferences as true in other experiments.

For example, I am currently working on a project examining what effect sort fishing has on various groundfish in the Pacific Northwest at various depths; I can assume that there will be selective pressure so I am looking for what the effects of that are. Now if my data showed that the different species aren't adapting whatsoever, I could say, hey maybe this is worth its own experiment. What we might be finding is actually the opposite, the rate of mutation appears to increase sharply as populations become stressed. But I cannot say that right now with assurance because that is sort of a little statistical anomely we are noticing. To measure that more accurately we will have to run dna scans on a lot more fish and figure out how to design that experiment. But the important thing is that we started by collecting data. We will design experiments to try to figure out what the data means.

What data is ID using? The eye is complex? What experiments could I design around that? How would I test it?

I can't using the discipline of science. If the fellow with apparent multiple personalities wants to bitch and moan about how pitiful science is at philosophy then just let me reply that philosophy doesn't do well with science either.

6:40 AM  
Blogger Stoffel said...

Excellent analysis!

Another way (7, actually) to tell "bogus science" claim is with Bob Park's rules of thumb, found here:
1. claim pitched directly to media
2. discoverer says powerful establishment is suppressing work
3. effects involved are at the limits of detection
4. evidence is anecdotal
5. belief is credible because "it's endured for centuries"
6. discoverer has worked in isolation
7. new laws of nature are proposed to explain discovery

One of these indicators will give a warning sign of bogus science. ID matches (to my reckoning) indicators 1, 2, 5, and 7 (extra-natural intervention isn't "new", but it sure ain't a law of nature). And they can't qualify for 3, 4 or 6 because there IS no evidence or work! That's 7 for 7!

6:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that I thought this post made a great point. I think you should send it (the original post) to the Huffington post or a letter to the editor - someplace where it will get more public exposure.

I hate to even respond to the innane comments of the troll here, but I have to say, I just cannot understand something about the ID people. They seem to recognize, and sometimes explictily acknowledge, that the gist of the cultural changes they wish to make lie in the philosophical arena, not a specifically scientific one. So their beef is really with scientism, not science per se. That would be fine but, then why do they keep wanting to redifine science. It seems they have decided that they cannot change the scientistic assumptions of many intellectuals, so instead their strategy to win them over it to actually embrace scientism and replace it with their own version. But at the same time they complain that science or scientists do not acknowledging science's limitations. Aside from the factually incorrect ad hominem straw man assertion here, can't they also see that there is a straightforward, pure logical inconsistency between getting people to recognize the limitations of emperical scence and redifing science to include abstract metaphysical arguments and "the meaning of life"? They seem to want it both ways. Or, rather, they seem to really want a theologically controlled scientism.

This is the sort of confusion that can arise in otherwise intelligent people only under under the emotional stress caused by their own cognitive dissonance. The elephant in the room here is metaphysical dualism. The ID folks are not necessarily bibilical literalists, but they tend to regard a dualistic metaphysics, and a very simple one at that, as a sine qua non of the truth of their faith. And they do seem to repsect the successes of modern science. Yet it is not trivial to square their metaphysics with what modern science can very effectively explain, in high and quantitative details, about most of the world going on around us, and especially, within us. It may be doable, by appealing to quantum mechanics, for example, but that may look rather like grasping at straws. But, even assuming it is duable, it's not for the philosphically naive and therefore not for the masses. And it doesn't make their veiw on the whole appear very likely in light of what science currenlty tells us. So this is their basic dilema. There are other theological approaches that don't require dualim, at least with regard to the soul, but that too seems like a weak position and they know it. So deep inside they feel that their own faith is hanging by a thread but that they, and the rest of the world, need it desparately. That is the psychology that drives the ID movement.

8:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that I thought this post made a great point. I think you should send it (the original post) to the Huffington post or a letter to the editor - someplace where it will get more public exposure.

I hate to even respond to the innane comments of the troll here, but I have to say, I just cannot understand something about the ID people. They seem to recognize, and sometimes explictily acknowledge, that the gist of the cultural changes they wish to make lie in the philosophical arena, not a specifically scientific one. So their beef is really with scientism, not science per se. That would be fine but, then why do they keep wanting to redifine science. It seems they have decided that they cannot change the scientistic assumptions of many intellectuals, so instead their strategy to win them over it to actually embrace scientism and replace it with their own version. But at the same time they complain that science or scientists do not acknowledging science's limitations. Aside from the factually incorrect ad hominem straw man assertion here, can't they also see that there is a straightforward, pure logical inconsistency between getting people to recognize the limitations of emperical scence and redifing science to include abstract metaphysical arguments and "the meaning of life"? They seem to want it both ways. Or, rather, they seem to really want a theologically controlled scientism.

This is the sort of confusion that can arise in otherwise intelligent people only under under the emotional stress caused by their own cognitive dissonance. The elephant in the room here is metaphysical dualism. The ID folks are not necessarily bibilical literalists, but they tend to regard a dualistic metaphysics, and a very simple one at that, as a sine qua non of the truth of their faith. And they do seem to repsect the successes of modern science. Yet it is not trivial to square their metaphysics with what modern science can very effectively explain, in high and quantitative details, about most of the world going on around us, and especially, within us. It may be doable, by appealing to quantum mechanics, for example, but that may look rather like grasping at straws. But, even assuming it is duable, it's not for the philosphically naive and therefore not for the masses. And it doesn't make their veiw on the whole appear very likely in light of what science currenlty tells us. So this is their basic dilema. There are other theological approaches that don't require dualim, at least with regard to the soul, but that too seems like a weak position and they know it. So deep inside they feel that their own faith is hanging by a thread but that they, and the rest of the world, need it desparately. That is the psychology that drives the ID movement.

8:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why oh why do you guys waste time on idiots like thordaddy? Do you honestly think he is going to "get it"? Do you honestly think he is going to wake up, take off his blinders and find any value in logic or reason?

You might as well try and convince Pat Robertson God does not hear his prayers.

It's one thing to try and enlighten a skeptic, it's another to devote all this time and energy trying to reason with a true believer.

Sheesh...

Nice article though :-)

8:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that I thought this post made a great point. I think you should send it (the original post) to the Huffington post or a letter to the editor - someplace where it will get more public exposure.

I hate to even respond to the innane comments of the troll here, but I have to say, I just cannot understand something about the ID people. They seem to recognize, and sometimes explictily acknowledge, that the gist of the cultural changes they wish to make lie in the philosophical arena, not a specifically scientific one. So their beef is really with scientism, not science per se. That would be fine but, then why do they keep wanting to redifine science. It seems they have decided that they cannot change the scientistic assumptions of many intellectuals, so instead their strategy to win them over it to actually embrace scientism and replace it with their own version. But at the same time they complain that science or scientists do not acknowledging science's limitations. Aside from the factually incorrect ad hominem straw man assertion here, can't they also see that there is a straightforward, pure logical inconsistency between getting people to recognize the limitations of emperical scence and redifing science to include abstract metaphysical arguments and "the meaning of life"? They seem to want it both ways. Or, rather, they seem to really want a theologically controlled scientism.

This is the sort of confusion that can arise in otherwise intelligent people only under under the emotional stress caused by their own cognitive dissonance. The elephant in the room here is metaphysical dualism. The ID folks are not necessarily bibilical literalists, but they tend to regard a dualistic metaphysics, and a very simple one at that, as a sine qua non of the truth of their faith. And they do seem to repsect the successes of modern science. Yet it is not trivial to square their metaphysics with what modern science can very effectively explain, in high and quantitative details, about most of the world going on around us, and especially, within us. It may be doable, by appealing to quantum mechanics, for example, but that may look rather like grasping at straws. But, even assuming it is duable, it's not for the philosphically naive and therefore not for the masses. And it doesn't make their veiw on the whole appear very likely in light of what science currenlty tells us. So this is their basic dilema. There are other theological approaches that don't require dualim, at least with regard to the soul, but that too seems like a weak position and they know it. So deep inside they feel that their own faith is hanging by a thread but that they, and the rest of the world, need it desparately. That is the psychology that drives the ID movement.

8:32 AM  
Blogger Ed Darrell said...

TQA,

This is also a worthy response to Krauze's bizarre claim at "Teleological" that ID simply hasn't had enough time to develop yet. There's been plenty of time.

It also highlights one of my concerns: Why does the DI spend all of its money on public relations, and nothing on real research? When I flacked research for the Department of Education we pulled down a lot of stories on good research, but the stories were easier to get when the research was already done. If you were to compare the number of science publications with the number of press releases about science from the institutions that do the research, I suspect you'd find about 100 science publications for each press release. In short, ID is about 10,000 times less effective in doing science than real scientists, if we take your figures and mine, together.

That helps explain the remarkable stoppage of work by Michael Behe, whose rapid output abruptly terminated when he started working on ID.

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there an ID advocate anywhere who actually understands the meaning of the word "empirical"?

DJ

11:37 AM  
Anonymous Scott de B. said...

This argument belies the whole notion that the ID movement is meaningless to science. If it does not change science to have a theory of an IDer, why not just let the IDers have a theory and let everyone go home happy because it won't affect real science anyway?

Because the IDers are not satisfied with with the claim that they are dealing in metaphysics. They claim ID is meaningful to science, and that evolutionary theory is not. They wish to eliminate particular scientific conclusions that they disagree with by banning their teaching in the schools. That's the danger.

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike, your first two paragraphs perfectly described my Significant Other, who not long ago expressed the general "why not teach the controversy" attitude about ID. I have a suggestion for anyone else with a relative or friend like this: Buy them a copy of Dembski's latest book, The Design Revolution. My SO read the book, and her response was, basically, "This is insulting! What a jerk!" She is no longer on the fence.

I highly recommend this approach.

12:48 PM  
Anonymous thordaddy said...

Anonymous,

How could you spot a "true believer" unless his beliefs were 100% opposed to yours or 100% in line with yours? Either way, it makes you another "true believer."

I am no "true believer," but someone skeptical of the conventional wisdom. The dismissiveness of the "scientists" only lend more empirical evidence to the reasonableness of that skepticism. To pretend that "science" wasn't essentailly codified into law by a judge and that teachers, politicians and advocates don't give self-serving meaning to science is to be the frog in the well. Scientists are not really in charge of science. Those who give meaning to science are the ones in charge.

You ask if someone could give a definition of empirical evidence. It is that which is observed or experienced. This is where science begins to trip all over itself.

Theoretical physics states that we are bombarded by energy (information) and this information is then given meaning via our intelligence. Science (human intelligence) gives meaning to limited empirical evidence, namely in the measurement in changes of velocity in matter. The question is under what justification has empirical evidence been given this arbitrary limit and how did science come to weild such power?

The further question is this. If science NECESSARILY limits the meaning of empirical evidence in order to define itself, what can be done to give this "other" empirical evidence meaning? Science answers by calling it religion and yet their essence is fundamentally the same. They both try to giving meaning to the empirical evidence.

Scientists concede the possibility of an IDer not because its scientific, but because its supported by the empirical evidence that science excludes. The "mass awareness" of an IDer is gleaned from the empirical evidence that is contained within the Universe. Your theories say so.

6:40 PM  
Anonymous thordaddy said...

ed darrell,

I really don't understand your argument.

Because it is self-evident that explaining the WHY or WHO to be much more difficult than explaining the HOW, this lack of "scientific" research seems obvious.

Secondly, if Science doesn't concede its limitation in explaining the WHY or WHO then it must necessarily publish greater religious research as that is the only known human endeavor to participate in such a search.

To claim that ID hasn't published "scientific" research on the WHY and WHO is to claim that science has answers to such questions. ID CAN'T publish "scientific" articles because ID deals with answering much tougher questions that reside outside the realm of science.

6:58 PM  
Anonymous Grover Gardner said...

"The 'mass awareness' of an IDer is gleaned from the empirical evidence that is contained within the Universe."

What evidence are you referring to?

7:04 PM  
Anonymous Grover Gardner said...

"ID CAN'T publish 'scientific' articles because ID deals with answering much tougher questions that reside outside the realm of science."

Great. So please stop screwing with my local school board and interfering with the teaching of science.

7:07 PM  
Anonymous thordaddy said...

grover asks,

>>What evidence are you referring to?

--The evidence of Physics theory. I will explain further if needed.

then you say,

>>Great. So please stop screwing with my local school board and interfering with the teaching of science.

--Your response doesn't make sense. You act as if science is the only game in town and that no one can speculate about the justifications for its limitations on what constitutes empirical evidence. Science is the primitive measurement of limited empirical evidence and you are claiming a superior position in the public school system. Hmm? That's an interesting position.

7:21 PM  
Anonymous Grover Gardner said...

"The evidence of Physics theory. I will explain further if needed."

I'm all ears.

"Your response doesn't make sense. You act as if science is the only game in town and that no one can speculate about the justifications for its limitations on what constitutes empirical evidence."

Maybe I wasn't clear enough. Let me try again. You are perfectly free to speculate about anything you want. But keep your grubby ID hands off my kid's biology class.

You know, if I thought for one second that Behe, Dembski and their ilk were really interested in improving science education in this country, or were even *halfway* serious about adressing the philosophical issues you raise, I'd at least give them points for sincerity. But they're not.

8:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thordaddy:

I like how you keep saying "the empirical evidence for ID" as if such a thing actually exists.

thordaddy is what Carl Sagan coined a "significance junkie" - they feel a compelling urge to find "meaning" in their life. They are most likely extremely afraid of death and/or a hypochondriac. Just to venture a guess.

Nobody cares that ID is trying to give meaning to the universe; Raelians and scientologists try to do the same thing. What the problem is that ID is masquerading as science to undermine genuine scientific principles and theories. For someone like thordaddy who probably takes science for granted and has little respect for it that might be such a big deal. For people who actually apply science, i.e. SCIENTISTS, they should consider this an affront to their discipline.

8:42 PM  
Anonymous thordaddy said...

grover,

It's clear that you are interested in influencing the education of your child. The question is why? I could reasonably assume at your most fundamental level it is because you love your daughter. But how does science give meaning to this "love?" All science can say for sure is that it must be a product of the "natural" laws. This means that "love" is nothing more than the transmission of energy (information) via the change in velocity in matter. We are, according to Physics Theory, being bombarded by information for which we then give meaning. This information has you conclude the meaning of "love" for your daughter the same way science has given you meaning to gravity and force. Both things that we neither see nor feel.

The question is why this "information" that is given meaning BY YOU is NOT empirical evidence. If it is not empirical evidence then what is it? How do you give meaning to nothing and still experience a "love" for your daughter?

I have 2 children myself and I am very concerned about their education and the above questions give you a hint as to why.

8:46 PM  
Anonymous thordaddy said...

anonymous says,

>>I like how you keep saying "the empirical evidence for ID" as if such a thing actually exists.

--If there is NO empirical evidence for an IDer then why must scientists concede the possibility of one? They must concede the possibility of an IDer because of the empirical evidence lest they betray science. Or they must admit that they discriminate against certain empirical evidence (unknown) with a bias against that which gives awareness of an IDer.

On what basis have scientists obtained the sole discretion to arbitrarily limit empirical evidence in their favor? Their own theories suggest that we are awash in empirical evidence (information) and we routinely give meaning to this evidence that science can only describe via "natural" laws. Some give meaning to an IDer and it can only being via empirical evidence. The "natural" laws say as much!

Then you say,

>>thordaddy is what Carl Sagan coined a "significance junkie" - they feel a compelling urge to find "meaning" in their life. They are most likely extremely afraid of death and/or a hypochondriac. Just to venture a guess.

--And yet this is one more display of a "scientist" giving faulty meaning to the empirical evidence. At least it was qualified as a "guess," but it doesn't say how much guesswork you put into the rest of what you say.


>>Nobody cares that ID is trying to give meaning to the universe; Raelians and scientologists try to do the same thing. What the problem is that ID is masquerading as science to undermine genuine scientific principles and theories. For someone like thordaddy who probably takes science for granted and has little respect for it that might be such a big deal. For people who actually apply science, i.e. SCIENTISTS, they should consider this an affront to their discipline.

--Your discipline at its most fundamental essence is to give meaning to empirical evidence. In this regard, science and religion are one in the same. You give science meaning via the contraints of the scientifc method. This mean you use primitive methods to give meaning to easily identifiable empirical evidence. Science necessarily excludes known "unknown" empirical evidence in order to define itself.

The question is how we can know the "unknown?" Because we aren't fundamentally scientists and can give far more meaning to the universe than science ever will be able to.

9:13 PM  
Anonymous Grover Gardner said...

"How do you give meaning to nothing and still experience a 'love' for your daughter?"

How do you know I have a daughter?

You seem to think that because I want my child to be interested in science, that I am therefore some sort of raving materialist who sees no meaning in life beyond what science can observe. Hooey. Science has beauties as well as its limitations. Sometimes it challenges our profoundest beliefs. Sometimes it's wrong. And sometimes it even reveals to us things that increase our wonder and awe and make us reach deeper into ourselves to find the answers to "big" questions. There's nothing wrong with drawing a distinction between the empirical observations of science and the metaphysical questions of religion. Sometimes they even compliment each other.

If you want to teach your children that science deprives life it's meaning, that's your business. As a nation we have made an investment in teaching our children science and teaching it well. That is beyond dispute as far as I'm concerned. The ID movement wants to undermine that, for whatever reasons. It's an insult to education and an insult to religion as well.

9:33 PM  
Anonymous Grover Gardner said...

"The question is how we can know the 'unknown?' Because we aren't fundamentally scientists and can give far more meaning to the universe than science ever will be able to."

Yes, that's right. You win. Can we go home now?

Your circular arguments aren't going to change the fact that science is the pursuit of certain types of knowledge that both intrigue and benefit us all. Most people LIKE it. They subscribe to hundreds of magazines about it, and visit countless museums awash in it, and watch dozens of cable channels devoted to it. Human beings are just as curious about the world around us as they are about one "above" us. In your smugness you'd have us believe that no one, and certainly not scientists, ever questions the "limits" of science or its "right" to claim empirical veracity.

I think I'm arguing with someone I already know, and we've gone over this before. But anyway, just because there are philosophical questions of the sort you raise doesn't mean *everyone* wants or needs to get mired in them every time they take their medicine or wonder why the dinosaurs died.

9:46 PM  
Anonymous Grover Gardner said...

And I would add that the Natural History Museum in my burg is *packed* every day of the week. Go tell those people they're wasting their time and bringing ruin to their souls.

9:50 PM  
Anonymous thordaddy said...

grover says,

>>There's nothing wrong with drawing a distinction between the empirical observations of science and the metaphysical questions of religion.

--How do "metaphysical questions" materialize via "natural" laws unless they be comprised of empirical evidence (energy/information)? The awareness of an IDer materializes via the "natural"laws and is then given meaning by interpreting empirical evidence. I'm not sure how you can escape this conclusion of Modern Physics Theory.

The question then becomes obvious. Why can't science give meaning to the empirical evidence of an IDer? It can and it does by accepting the possibilty of its existence, but saves face by claiming there is NO "empirical" evidence. Unfortunately, they betray science by giving meaning to NO "empirical" evidence (the unknown).

The point is Science is either woefully incomplete or seriously faulty. Do you teachers know that?

PS Sorry for referring to a daughter. I made an assumption that wasn't warranted.

9:52 PM  
Blogger Ed Darrell said...

Ooops. Krauze's posts are at "Telic Thoughts." My apologies for the error.

Thordaddy: ID advocates claim to be pursuing the "how." I won't gainsay them their claim.

9:53 PM  
Anonymous thordaddy said...

grover,

We've never conversed before. This is really a new interest of mine.

I haven't said anything about science being bad or worthless or anything derogatory towards the endeavor.

All I have said is what you concede. Science is limited in giving meaning to the universe. Science is the process of giving meaning to empirical evidence, but it is limited because it only accepts limited empirical evidence. This defines science. The question is why the rest of the empirical evidence (the "known" unknown) floating throughout this universe is off-limits to science? It's only because of the primitive methods of science. Can it be anything else?

10:05 PM  
Anonymous thordaddy said...

Science finds itself in a difficult situation. It must solve this quagmire.

If ID is not science,

Then by what principle must a scientist accept the possibility in the existence of an IDer?

This acceptance in the possibility of an IDer necessitates the existence of empirical evidence for an IDer lest the scientist give meaning to the non-existent?

Scientists give meaning to empirical evidence. How then can they not yet give meaning to the empirical evidence of an IDer?

They know its there. They admit as much. It seems a question of willingness versus capability.

10:27 PM  
Anonymous Grover Gardner said...

"The question is why the rest of the empirical evidence (the 'known' unknown) floating throughout this universe is off-limits to science? It's only because of the primitive methods of science. Can it be anything else?"

Empirical means "based on, concerned with or verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic." What you mean by "the rest of the emprical evidence...floating throughout this universe" I can only guess--and I don't mean that sarcastically. Do you mean it's out there but we just haven't found a way to detect it yet? You mean "Ghostbusters" wasn't real? ;-) Seriously, unless we redefine "empirical," I'm afraid we're stuck with it's current meaning.

But I really think your question has basically been answered over and over in these types of discussions. It doesn't serve a scientist to wonder if there's some invisible or undetectable "cause" for what he or she observes. What would be the point? But there's also the fact that as human beings we instinctively sort our knowledge and experiences into little bins and categorize things and make distinctions and apply labels and names and such. It's a way of making sense of the world around us. I mean, all those people gawking at dinosaur bones--are they atheists? No, they're curious. But they take what they see and learn and tuck it in one corner and try not to let the contradictions eat at their brains.

We cannot know the mind of God--this is stated over and over and over again in the Bible. That said, it's certainly fair to wonder if there are things we cannot yet measure or detect--in which case you've just scotched one of ID's major arguments against evolution. Dembski states several times in "The Design Revolution" that if "Darwinists" can't explain certain biological phenomena in terms of *what they now know* as opposed to *what we might discover in the future* then they have to concede the field to ID. Apparently he doesn't hold the same standard to himself. Though we can't yet observe the presence of the supernatural or God, we have to give ID a "chance" to develop the methods to do so--and teach it in school at the same time. If this isn't a contradiction I don't know what is.

10:53 PM  
Anonymous Grover Gardner said...

"Science finds itself in a difficult situation. It must solve this quagmire."

Well, according to you. How about religion? Doesn't it have some duty to accomodate science? Or is that not "cricket"?

Anyway, Science doesn't owe a damn thing to ID until ID gives something in return. Right now it only takes and takes.

10:56 PM  
Anonymous thordaddy said...

grover opines,

>>Empirical means "based on, concerned with or verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic." What you mean by "the rest of the emprical evidence...floating throughout this universe" I can only guess--and I don't mean that sarcastically. Do you mean it's out there but we just haven't found a way to detect it yet?

--I mean the empirical evidence that is interpreted as "love" for your child. You know it's (empirical evidence) there because you interpret (experience) it as "love". Conversely, how can you "love" your child unless you've interpreted the experience (empirical evidence) as such?

You can detect this empirical evidence as a father, but not as a scientist. Science has necessarily defined itself out of giving meaning to some things by choosing only to give meaning to others.

then you say,

>>But I really think your question has basically been answered over and over in these types of discussions. It doesn't serve a scientist to wonder if there's some invisible or undetectable "cause" for what he or she observes. What would be the point?

--This seems to contradict the entire essence of what it means to be a scientist which was to get into the mind of God. Such endeavor seems the logical pursuit of science.

Lastly,

>>Though we can't yet observe the presence of the supernatural or God, we have to give ID a "chance" to develop the methods to do so--and teach it in school at the same time. If this isn't a contradiction I don't know what is.

--Then how have we conceived of such a thing if not through empirical evidence? It seems a requirement that the awareness of an IDer was interpreted through the empirical evidence. We cannot interpret non-existence. We cannot interpret "No empirical evidence." Then by what means have millions of people become aware of an IDer if not by the "natural" laws and Modern Physics Theory?

11:26 PM  
Anonymous thordaddy said...

grover states,

>>Well, according to you. How about religion? Doesn't it have some duty to accomodate science? Or is that not "cricket"?

Anyway, Science doesn't owe a damn thing to ID until ID gives something in return. Right now it only takes and takes.

--I'm not the enemy. I'm pointing out obvious problems for the continued ascension of science versus ID. Religion need only theorize on the IDer and science has claimed such pursuit non-science. So how then can you religion accomdate science?

Science has put itself in a tenuous position. It must live up to its ideals or heed to religion as the only alternative to giving real meaning to life. Unless science puts itself to the task of answering the WHO and WHY as opposed to just the HOW, then it is inevitable that new intelligent human endeavors will intercede to finish the job science declared it could not do.

Am I the enemy of science?

11:38 PM  
Anonymous Grover Gardner said...

Around and around and around.

"I mean the empirical evidence that is interpreted as 'love' for your child."

I have no idea what this means. You stretch "empirical" beyond any ordinary meaning of the word. Do you mean my observable behavior? The fact that I hug my child? Scold her when she's bad? Panic when she runs into the street? But everyone exhibits different responses to their children. A woman smacked her child in the store the other day, and screamed at him. Does she hate her child?

"This seems to contradict the entire essence of what it means to be a scientist which was to get into the mind of God."

No. This not the "entire essence" of what it means to be a scientist. Otherwise Frances Crick would have been a very bad scientist indeed. Science is "the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment." Please don't confuse philosophical outbursts or grandiose claims with the practice of science.

"Then how have we conceived of such a thing if not through empirical evidence? It seems a requirement that the awareness of an IDer was interpreted through the empirical evidence. etc."

I'm sorry, I really don't know what this means.

"I'm pointing out obvious problems for the continued ascension of science versus ID."

Science doesn't "ascend," it advances.

"Science has put itself in a tenuous position."

No. Science exists much as it has done since the days of Aristotle, arguably with better tools but not much more insight into the "meaning" of what it finds than before. Again, some practitioners of science have pitted themselves against religion, but that's their lookout.

"It must live up to its ideals or heed to religion as the only alternative to giving real meaning to life."

I'm guessing that most scientists will gladly yield to other fields of endeavor in this regard.

"Am I the enemy of science?"

That's entirely up to you.

None of this addresses the fact that the ID movement, as it is currently manned and directed, is fundamentally dishonest and fraudulent. It has very little to do with science and everything to do with baseless attacks on evolutionary theory and the promotion of specific religious beliefs that do not belong in our high school science classrooms.

And with that, it's ridiculously past my bedtime. It's been interesting arguing with you. Good night, and don't get tangled in the bed sheets. :-)

12:58 AM  
Anonymous thordaddy said...

grover opines,

>>I have no idea what this means.

--Empirical evidence is that which is observed or experienced. You experience love of child by interpreting empirical evidence. In the same way, you are aware of an IDer by interpreting the empirical evidence. The process is clear and represents physics theory. The only problem is that this interpretation cannot be measured and quantified in order to magically transform into science. That doesn't make your love of child or awareness of an IDer any less empirical.

Then you say,

>>No. This not the "entire essence" of what it means to be a scientist.

--Then scientists must correct this misperception.

Next you say,

>>I'm sorry, I really don't know what this means.

--Science can't give meaning (interpret) to that which is "unknown." So how have billions of people become "aware" of an IDer throughout the history of mankind if not by the "natural" laws? If theoretical physics posits a physical world then this awareness (interpretation) of an IDer HAD to come via empirical evidence. There simply no other way. One can't interpret the "unknown" (no empirical evidence).

Lastly,

>>None of this addresses the fact that the ID movement, as it is currently manned and directed, is fundamentally dishonest and fraudulent. It has very little to do with science and everything to do with baseless attacks on evolutionary theory and the promotion of specific religious beliefs that do not belong in our high school science classrooms.

--Ok!

1:58 AM  
Blogger Seth said...

thordaddy,

1. I've checked the theories of physics. They don't require a designer. That is not a conclusion of physics. If you have some kind of evidence for this designer of yours present it, if not, stop claiming it exists.

2. "science" does not concede the possibility of a designer. If a theory is proposed that leads to a test to determine the non-existence of a designer, it becomes a scientific possibility which should be tested. In the absence of even a possibility of such a test, science is silent on the matter.

The designer is not testable in principle, regardless of what phenomena is encountered, it can be "explained" by some kind of design...

Lets say that somehow, the highly speculative area of multiverses can be tested. And we find that there are an infinite number of universes, ours just happens to be one. Then all the fine-tuning arguments go away, all of the probability arguments go away, our universe is the way it is because it is possible and all possible universes exist. Fine. Does this falsify weak ID?

Heck no! You just move the goal posts back to "who designed the multiverse to be that way? Seems pretty improbable..."

So no, I don't currently concede, as a scientist in training, the possibility of a designer. As a philosopher--maybe. But as a scientist, I have no opinion because it isn't a scientific question.

3:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thordaddy:

Silly me, here I thought the ID folks were the ones harping about how "absence of evidence does not imply evidence of absence".

I'm curious to know exactly how "unknown" emprical evidence guides your behavior. Do you live in constant fear of the Flying Sphagetti Monster? Of little grey men who want to abduct you and infiltrate your most intimate crevasses with implements of destruction? Of leprechauns who want to steal your Lucky Charms?
After all, there might be empirical evidence for any of those things that we "just don't know at the moment."

4:24 AM  
Anonymous thordaddy said...

seth opines,

>>1. I've checked the theories of physics. They don't require a designer. That is not a conclusion of physics. If you have some kind of evidence for this designer of yours present it, if not, stop claiming it exists.

--I didn't say Physics Theory require a designer, but that Physics Theory asserts the existence of empirical evidence of an IDer. There is a mass "awareness" of an IDer that has persisted since the beginning of mankind. This "awareness" comes in the form of an interpretation of empirical evidence. There is simply no logic to be aware of something non-existent. The empirical evidence is implied by the interpretation of an IDer. One cannot become aware outside the "natural" laws.

>>2. "science" does not concede the possibility of a designer. If a theory is proposed that leads to a test to determine the non-existence of a designer, it becomes a scientific possibility which should be tested. In the absence of even a possibility of such a test, science is silent on the matter.

--If science is "silent" then he either concedes the possibility of an IDer and MUST accept the empirical evidence lest he betray science or he makes an unscientific assertion. Which will you choose?

>>The designer is not testable in principle, regardless of what phenomena is encountered, it can be "explained" by some kind of design...

--First, ID needs to give evidence of design.

>>Lets say that somehow, the highly speculative area of multiverses can be tested. And we find that there are an infinite number of universes, ours just happens to be one. Then all the fine-tuning arguments go away, all of the probability arguments go away, our universe is the way it is because it is possible and all possible universes exist. Fine. Does this falsify weak ID?

--ID need not be scientific although it is in essence science which is religious which is science... The battle will not be in the scientific arena and this is science's major failing. They think this battle is in the science, but it's really in society at large.

>>So no, I don't currently concede, as a scientist in training, the possibility of a designer. As a philosopher--maybe. But as a scientist, I have no opinion because it isn't a scientific question.

--You can only separate yourself by betraying each other. If you say that as a philosopher you could concede the possibility of a designer then how did you make this choice on anything other than the "empirical" evidence? If this "empirical" evidence exists then you must concede the possibility as a scientist.

If you say that you won't concede the possibility of an IDer and in essence say it doesn't exist because there is NO "empirical" evidence, then by what physical mechanism was your philosopher self contemplating the existence if an IDer?

Can't the scientist-self see that the philosopher-self interpretated the empirical evidence and conceded the possibility? Does the scientist recognize that his methods are primitive and his meaning of empirical evidence needs to be updated to reflect Physics Theory?

Does the scientific-self feel superior to the philosopher-self or does the philosopher-self have far more advanced interpretive power for a far greater range of empirical evidence than scientific-self?

4:43 AM  
Anonymous Grover Gardner said...

(Next morning, yawning) Aaaah, what a beautiful...Wha???

Seth has stated it pretty succinctly, but I'll respond to your other comments.

"You experience love of child by interpreting empirical evidence."

You keep saying this. No, I experience feelings about my daughter. I don't make empirical observations. I don't have to!

"If theoretical physics posits a physical world then this awareness (interpretation) of an IDer HAD to come via empirical evidence."

Ah, now I see. Is this C. S. Lewis or something? We can't say we have the rationality to observe the universe unless we admit that there is a source of this rationality? Something like that? Anyway it's a worldview argument and they bore me to death. Sorry.

"Then scientists must correct this misperception."

How about you learn something about science and scientists, instead of blaming them for your own misconceptions?

4:58 AM  
Blogger Bo Dixen Pedersen said...

Well science isn't inferior in giving meaning to live because that is not what science is.

Science is a tool that is very good at providing natural explanations for natural phenomena in a natural world nothing more or nothing less.

The way science is defined with focus on empirical evidence, the demand for falsifiability and so forth is proving philosophically a VERY sound method of doing exactly what science is doing.

It isn't a contest.

Science and religions are just answers to 2 different questions and therefore a bit strange to compare.

5:06 AM  
Anonymous Grover Gardner said...

"If you say that as a philosopher you could concede the possibility of a designer then how did you make this choice on anything other than the 'empirical' evidence? If this 'empirical' evidence exists then you must concede the possibility as a scientist."

Remind me again, what is the empirical evidence for a designer?

5:13 AM  
Blogger Ed Darrell said...

There seems to be some large misunderstanding of what is "empirical." Love cannot be measured with accuracy. Love does not lend itself to empirical measurement -- at least, not by any yardstick proposed formally by anyone.

Claims that love can be measured empirically are bizarre, and inaccurate. We haven't yet succeeded in measuring gravity directly -- and that's likely to happen before we can measure abstract concepts people act on.

Thordaddy is bluffing.

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thor daddy wrote:

"ID's ultimate goal is to put science in its place by forcing it to recognize its limitation on giving meaning to life. Science must concede this most valuable point. In giving meaning to life, science is inferior to religion."


Yup those guys flying into building with planed packed with people really gave life some meaning....

Science doesn't answer questions about "meaning".

It does work on answering the how and what of natural phenomena.

If ID claims it can give meaning, then its should drop the pretense of being "science", and call itself a religious movement. WHich is what it is.

Stuart Weinstein

1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, that ratio does make some sense. It takes a lot more time and effort to write a scientific paper than a press release. Additionally, I would expect multiple press releases per scientific publication, where the conclusions and implications are explored in bite-sized bits typical of PR stuff.

However, I agree that most of their so-called scientific papers are not quite peer-reviewed. I do admit, though, that most of the big journals probably have an ideological bias that might exclude their papers even if they were "good" science, so they may need to start some of their own journals. But tney need to do them w/ integrity and real rigor.

1:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why does science allow for the possibility of an "IDer"? Because nothing is impossible. There is a negligible but non-zero possibility that I can walk through the wall in front of me. This is not empirical evidence of anything, and love is for English class, not science (I know,... boring!). And science is not in danger from anything, except our present administration. Other countries will be happy to pursue it and end up kicking our ass, economically, and eventually, even militarily if we take up with "faith-based" science.

6:50 PM  
Anonymous thordaddy said...

ed opines,

>>There seems to be some large misunderstanding of what is "empirical." Love cannot be measured with accuracy. Love does not lend itself to empirical measurement -- at least, not by any yardstick proposed formally by anyone.

Claims that love can be measured empirically are bizarre, and inaccurate. We haven't yet succeeded in measuring gravity directly -- and that's likely to happen before we can measure abstract concepts people act on.

Thordaddy is bluffing.

--Bluffing?? What is the empirical evidence you have interpreted to make this assertion.

You readily admitted that science is exactly how I've stated it. It's limited in empirical scope and deficient in ability. It does not have the "yardstick" for such a task as to measure love. Yet, love is every bit as beholden to the "natural" laws as ANY empirical interpretation. In other words, how can love be off-limits to empirical interpretation in any other way than to say science just can't or doesn't want to go there?

You need to see science from the outside, perhaps?

2:46 AM  
Blogger BadTux said...

"Love" can certainly be explained in scientific terms via biology and sociology. I suggest you research human sexuality as contrasted to other primate's sexuality, and get back with us. "Love" can most decidedly be explained via hormones, biological evolution, and social evolution.

Note that what we call "love" in the American culture does not exist in many other cultures. I know someone from a culture where the American concept of "love" does not exist at all. The closest translation of their equivalent would be "duty", e.g., in this culture parents don't "love" their children in our sense of the word, they have a sense of duty towards their children (results in a very emotionally cold upbringing, but seems to work okay for them). That's an example of how what you speak of as a "universal" concept isn't.

To say that "love" is some "universal" truth that is not amenable to scientific research is just wishy-washy emotionalism, it's not factual. There is indeed quite a bit of scientific research in the area, and no creator need be conjectured in order to explain it.

-BT

9:59 AM  
Anonymous Grover Gardner said...

"Bluffing?? What is the empirical evidence you have interpreted to make this assertion."

That fact that you keep trying to redefine the term "empirical evidence."

6:35 PM  
Anonymous Grover Gardner said...

"In other words, how can love be off-limits to empirical interpretation in any other way than to say science just can't or doesn't want to go there?"

Perhaps you'd care to explain how one would go about measuring "love." Unless, of course, you're talking about the fields of behavioral and cognitive science. Are you sure you want to go there?? Boiling consciousness and the "soul" down to a series of electrical impulses and chemical reactions? I mean, if that's what you *want* to do...

6:43 PM  
Anonymous thordaddy said...

I see we are swaying in the right direction.

Badtux,

I'm not sure if you were critiquing me or adding to my arguments.

Grover,

You seemed to be cognizant of where we might go with this?

10:55 PM  
Anonymous Grover Gardner said...

"You seemed to be cognizant of where we might go with this?"

Sure--around and around in circles.

2:26 AM  
Anonymous thordaddy said...

grover,

The point is simple.

Science can't say we can't know the answer for an IDer and then when someone posits the evidence for an IDer based on a larger interpretation of the empirical evidence, you say, "Oh no, no... it not scientific."

Of course, it's not scientific. You said it couldn't be in the first place, but that doesn't means we don't want the answer any less.

3:30 AM  
Anonymous Grover Gardner said...

"Science can't say we can't know the answer for an IDer and then when someone posits the evidence for an IDer based on a larger interpretation of the empirical evidence, you say, 'Oh no, no... it not scientific.'"

That's right, Thordaddy. The "larger interpretation of the empirical evidence" is beyond the scope of science. It's not "scientific."

But if you *lie* about the empirical evidence that already exists (like Jonathan Wells) or cook up a phony methodology (like William Dembski) a scientist will rightly object.

5:07 AM  
Blogger Boo said...

Thordaddy is leading y'all in circles for his own amusement, and he'll keep doing it as long as y'all play his game. He's just conceded that ID isn't scientific, which was the point of the original post. By definition, that which is not scientific should not be taught in science class. His complaint that science can't answer deep philosophical questions of meaning is outside the scope of the post and is something everyone agrees with anyway. He's just constructing an endless series of strawmen and laughing at how he can get everyone to keep expending the effort to knock them down.

Bottome line: ID is an interesting philosophy, and is debatable as a philosophy, but it is not science. The problem with the DI and other ID advocates is that they keep trying to push their philosophy/religion into science classes and use PR to confuse people about the scientific merits of evolution (with, surprise, an endless series of strawmen).

If there is an actual point under thordaddy's trolling, it is a complaint that science cannot by itself answer questions of ultimate meaning. Thing is, thordaddy, no one is saying it does, which is why there's no point in debating those questions in science class. That's what churches and philosophy and/or religion classes are for. It's like teaching English lit in math class, all it would accomplish is to screw up both disciplines.

5:41 AM  
Blogger Ginger Yellow said...

"Empirical evidence is that which is observed or experienced. You experience love of child by interpreting empirical evidence. In the same way, you are aware of an IDer by interpreting the empirical evidence. The process is clear and represents physics theory"

This is the biggest load of crap I've ever read. It's barely English, let alone science. Love is almost the exact opposite of science, ie the rational interpretation of observational data and the formulation of testable hypotheses. Since you're so convinced that folk epistemology is "empirical evidence", how do you reconcile "love as science" with the popular conception of love as "blind", "mad" and "irrational"? How do you explain the fact that when a love-struck human's hypothesis (she loves me) is proved wrong, it does little if anything to diminish one's love?

As for the wider point, to the extent that what you say is coherent (ie not very) you seem to be arguing that the fact people believe in something is evidence for it's truth. I can scarcely believe this needs refuting, but anyway. People believe in fairies. People believe they aren't alcoholics. People believe the earth goes round the sun. People believe that the world will end in their lifetimes. People believe lots and lots of things that are patently untrue or for which there is no evidence. Your supposed acceptance of the idea that people's beliefs are subject to natural laws makes this all the more ridiculous. If beliefs are indeed a function of purely materialistic processes, why on earth should they have a direct causal relationship with the truth? Why shouldn't they just be a quirk of biology or phsyics? Is a dog correct when it thinks there is no difference between red and green objects? Conversely, I don't believe in an IDer. Does this mean there is necessarily no evidence for one?

You claim not to be an enemy of science, but if scientists had followed your prescriptions, and had explained their ideas in as obtuse a manner as you, we'd still be using leeches to cure depressives.

9:50 AM  
Anonymous thordaddy said...

I'm sorry that a larger point is not coming across. This is often the problem with "conservatives" of different sorts who are used to seeing the world in one particualr fashion. They are comfortable with the way things are and are not too excited when people want new answers.

Science can't keep saying there is NO empirical evidence for an IDer and therefore they can't EVER answer the question. Science should answer the question like they answer all other questions they seek answers for by evaluating the full scope of the empirical evidence.

Failing to do this, others will procede and they are by no means constrained by science. They will pick those attributes of science that are applicable, apply philosophical understandings of intelligence and randomness and evaluate the mass awareness of such an IDer that is said not to exist by science.

In what way does it damage science to except the probability of a Creator if that is the consensus of the ALL the rational observers?

What are the conservative scientists afraid of?

6:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Am I the enemy of science?'
Yes, but only until you go back on your meds, thorbaby. Then everything will be a lot better . . .
Seriously, thordaddy - if you're making a sincere effort to discuss and understand this issue, please STOP and listen. You are really misunderstanding what science is in relation to other ways of acting in/comprehending the world.
Also "what many people believe/feel/want to be true" does not = "empirical evidence". It just doesn't. I'm sorry.
People are entirely free to make their own meaning for life and think what they want about God, entirely unconstrained by science, cannibalizing bits of it, whatever. Cool. Just don't pretend it's real science and insist that it be taught in public school as such. Ok? Ok.

How can you tell it isn't science? One simple yet important hint is a high ratio of capital to lowercase letters, . ID, by this standard, is obviously balderdash.

Thordaddy - google "qualia" or "Mary's room"

-Dan S.

4:59 AM  
Anonymous thordaddy said...

anonymous,

empirical:1 : originating in or based on observation or experience -empirical data-
2 : relying on experience or observation alone often without due regard for system and theory

3 : capable of being verified or disproved by observation or experiment -empirical laws-
4 : of or relating to empiricism

Just to refresh your memory so you aren't under the illusion that "science" and "empirical" are synonymous in ALL cases. They are NOT.

"Science" is DEFINED by restricting the definition of empirical to #3 while excluding #1,2.

Are you having a hard time dealing with this?

The question is what empirical evidence sciences chooses to disregard. The answer is obvious for all to observe and speculate.

8:49 AM  
Blogger Boo said...

So is everybody clear now that there's no actual point to anything thordaddy has said?

9:44 AM  
Anonymous thordaddy said...

boo,

The problem with your outlook is that no one can speak "objectively" unless its within the confines of science.

When Newton observed the apple fall from the tree is took sometime for this "empirical" observation to transform from "subjective" to "objective." The question is why? The truth is the truth, is it not?

The point should be very clear.

Can you figure it out?

11:07 AM  
Blogger Boo said...

thordaddy- the problem with your outlook is that you are constantly changing the definitions of words in order to suit your strange little whims.

Have you ever "observed" God (without ingesting strange mushrooms first)?

Your above statement is quite correct: science is by definition limited to the third of the criteria for empiricism you listed:

"capable of being verified or disproved by observation or experiment -empirical laws-"

This is why ID is not science and doesn't belong in a science classroom. Exactly what sort of experiment could you design around the fact that most people throughout history have believed in God/gods to verify or disprove anything?

My belief in God does not lead me anywhere in science, in the same sense that my knowledge of history will not help me ace calculus.

And exactly what is "subjective" about observing an apple fall from a tree? Again, you've got to quit the whole post-modernist gobbledegook or no one will be able to make sense out of anything you're saying (which I suppose is probably your goal in the first place)

11:51 AM  
Anonymous thordaddy said...

boo opines,

>>thordaddy- the problem with your outlook is that you are constantly changing the definitions of words in order to suit your strange little whims.


--LOL!! The only ones that have changed the definition are science and scientists. I've changed nothing. Empirical means EXACTLY what it says.

Then you ask,

>>Have you ever "observed" God (without ingesting strange mushrooms first)?

--Since you've added the quotes I assume that you are being literal in your question? Like, has a scientist ever "observed" gravity? Or, are you using the scientific definition that allows "observation" via inference? We need a concrete definition.

Lastly,

>>This is why ID is not science and doesn't belong in a science classroom. Exactly what sort of experiment could you design around the fact that most people throughout history have believed in God/gods to verify or disprove anything?

--Why, because scientists have actually "observed" gravity or perhaps the strong and weak nuclear forces? What sort of experiment could we do?

The smarter of the ID folk are looking into Design Inference, Irreducible Complexity and Complex Specified Information. That sounds like something scientific in order to do experiments.

>>My belief in God does not lead me anywhere in science, in the same sense that my knowledge of history will not help me ace calculus.

--Perhaps you are only speaking for yourself? But that does beg the question. Does a disbelief in God lead you somewhere in Science? Well, well... it certainly does.

>>And exactly what is "subjective" about observing an apple fall from a tree? Again, you've got to quit the whole post-modernist gobbledegook or no one will be able to make sense out of anything you're saying (which I suppose is probably your goal in the first place)

--The point is very simple. Newton's subjective observation came to be the objective truth of gravity. The problem is that this objective truth was always objective even when it was Newton's subjective observation. Subjective observation many times has objective truth RIGHT from the get go.

The question is how 3,000,000,000 subjective, but nearly identical, observations can be said to hold NO empirical value.

Will you be the first to attempt an answer?

1:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Odin (Thor's daddy, in the Norse pantheon) -

Look, this is all very old hat, y'know? Yes, science is limited, with many things falling outside its job description. These particular limits are what make it so powerful within its domain. Science's great success and influence sometimes makes overenthusiatic boosters - or jealous rivals - go a bit overboard. Even if everything ultimately is reducible to physics (the new issue of National Geographic has an article on the chemistry -ha - of love), this does not capture the whole of human experience. Imagine a scientist named, say Mary. She knows *everything* about the neurochemistry and evolutionary biology of love, but has never felt that emotion herself until one day she steps out of the lab and sees the man/woman/etc. of her dreams. This experience would not be satisfactory summed up by her previous knowledge - nor is there any reason for explanatory power of this knowledge to necessarily devalue her experience. Sure. Right. Ok. So? Everybody with basic modernity-literacy gets this. Science deals with things it can touch and test, mark and measure, etc. If it tries to go beyond that, it's like a guy trying to use a compass to find his way around the Twilight Zone - pointless, lost, and probably about to get in a lot of trouble.

In your very first comment here you say
"Science, believing the superiority of its interpretation, has done nothing more than limit the scope of empirical evidence to that which is "observed" and thereby limited its technological progress to that end. It gives explicit meaning to particular things but by no means gives any meaning to all things."

Ok, moment of truth time. One of your kids is seriously ill. Do you a) solely rely on prayer/meditation/magical sleeting bits of energy-information, etc. or do you b) seek help from modern medicine?

b? Ok. Game, set, and match. You lose. (although in this scenario you have a much higher chance of winning, ie, having a living child). Limited its technical progess?! Do you understand what life was like just a century or three back? Give meaning to all things? That's not its bloody job! What are you whining about? We've tried the other way. Try to explain everything, and you end up explaining nothing. It's why we have all these boxes and divisions, from big ones (science, religion) to much smaller ones (my local science museum is trying to hire, for two distinct positions, an algae analyst and a diatom analyst).

" Science has bitten off more than it can chew by pretending only he could give meaning to the universe"
Besides the bit about Science apparently having gender, this isn't the case. It just isn't. Please stop.

I don't understand the bit where you apparently thing you have a big "gotcha" moment because science won't pretend that it knows everything and dogmatically rule out ID? And the bit where you think that there's all this energy/information beaming in like alien mind-control rays and telling our brains that there is an IDer is just, well, weird.

I blame Plato. It's generally a safe bet.

You do get that people might have unjustifiable beliefs, right?

"Furthermore, science has deluded itself into believing it is the only game in town instead of just one of the many players in a much larger game."

I get this big impression that you think science is the bad guy - maybe not evil, perhaps just confused and misled, but still bad. I'll grant you, sometimes it gets a bit hoity-toity, but - well, do you ever watch House? The main character is an incredibly arrogant, rule-breaking, pain-in-the-butt doctor, but people put up with him because his patients tend to live (or at least have explanations for their demise). In the specific domain of solving bizarre & life-threatening medical mysteries, he works. Relationship advice, comfort, etc., you'd be better off asking a potato, but come down with something obscure and disgusting and you're set.

This whole thread, it's like you're complaining that investment bankers don't do plumbing (or vice versa). WTF?

And dude - it's not like scientists are barging into churches and insisting that they preach evolution. Not even Dawkins. (Probably). It's the other way around. That's the whole point.

"and the bureaucratic US public school is manipulating science to satisfy its social goals."
What do you mean? Explain this statement. What goal is being satisfied, and how?

"ID's ultimate goal is to put science in its place by forcing it to recognize its limitation on giving meaning to life."

You're fighting sciencism, not science. This is like going after Unitarians with a flamethrower because you don't like fundamentalists.

" Science is constantly being violated, manipulated and used by more powerful outside forces. If science wants to survive the assault from these forces then it must give greater meaning to our lives. It must give more than "scientific" meaning."

What on earth is this supposed to mean? And how will pretending to be something it's not help it? Why on earth do you want science to be religion, and why don't you realize that this would constitute a fundamental violation of what science is?

"Science must concede this most valuable point. In giving meaning to life, science is inferior to religion."

Probably - although people can find meaning in a slice of moldy bread, but again, "giving meaning to life" is not in science's job description. Of course, in terms of, say, saving or extending life, or figuring out how living things work, or how to send them to the moon, or, unfortunately, how to blow them up in very efficient ways, science is far, far superior than competing brands. People probably could find meaning in a piece of moldy bread (or at least the face of Mother Theresa in a bun) but science can find penicillin.

And all this about people using science for their own ends, that never happens with religion . . .
WhatEVER.

Billygoats!

-Dan S.

1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The question is how 3,000,000,000 subjective, but nearly identical, observations can be said to hold NO empirical value."

Look, this is just silly, even setting aside the bit about religions being culturally transfered patterns of belief - witness-tampering on a grand scale, I'd say. Historically, large numbers of people have clearly perceived the world to be more or less flat, surrounded and covered by a bowl of sky. That doesn't make it so. There are no end of optical and logical illusions. Vast numbers of people have believed in witchcraft. So?

"--Why, because scientists have actually "observed" gravity?"

Drop a ball off a roof. Watch it fall.
Drop a baby off a roof. Pray. Watch - no, don't watch.

In the Bible, there are a number of instances of more-or-less empirical evidence for something, at least - burning&talking bushes, parting seas, a contest between religions with a clear winner (can't remember the details for that one), dead being raised, etc. Nowadays, not so much. Somebody gets hauled into court because they were about to slit their kid's throat, well, saying that God told them to might get them an insanity defense, but . . .
Doesn't mean it's wrong - but look, there doesn't seem to be any empirical evidence nowadays of the kind we're talking about. What your heart tells you doesn't count for beans in science and that's ok. Really. That's why we have religion, art, literature, etc. Division of labor, my friend.

"The smarter of the ID folk are looking into Design Inference, Irreducible Complexity and Complex Specified Information. That sounds like something scientific in order to do experiments."

Just add italics or scare quotes to "sounds" in the above sentence, and you'd probably be onto something.

" Does a disbelief in God lead you somewhere in Science? Well, well... it certainly does."

Not sure what you're getting at (the Vast Scientific-Atheistic-Darwinistic-Anti-God Conspiracy?) but let me ask you - what does any-belief regarding God/Gods add to science (beyond the assumption that some deity isn't breaking natural laws and messing with your experimental results just to amuse Themself)?

" Subjective observation many times has objective truth RIGHT from the get go."

Ok -going beyond the terminology thing - you get the bit about how you have to back it up, right? Lots of folks looked at a map and went, hey, it looks like S. America and Africa could fit together! - but it took a whole bunch of work to get from there to continental drift, let alone plate tectonics.

Dan S.

2:43 PM  
Anonymous thordaddy said...

anonymous opines,

>>Give meaning to all things? That's not its bloody job! What are you whining about?

--It doesn't seem adverse to giving meaning to ID and calling is religious in nature. So which is it? Does it give meaning to life or not?

How can scientists give meaning to something they claim has NO empirical evidence?

The question is simple and I will state it again emphatically.

By what process has 3,000,000,000 people come to interpret an IDer outside of the empirical evidence?

Until you can give an answer to this question then we can't move much farther. If all that can be said by science is that this "mass awareness" is a lie, trick, etc., then all that is being said is UNSCIENTIFIC.

6:21 PM  
Anonymous Grover Gardner said...

"By what process has 3,000,000,000 people come to interpret an IDer outside of the empirical evidence?"

I thought there *was* empirical evidence for the existence of a designer. You *said* there was.

"Until you can give an answer to this question then we can't move much farther."

Oh, hell! I guess I'll just have to go fold my laundry now.

7:06 PM  
Anonymous Grover Gardner said...

"It doesn't seem adverse to giving meaning to ID and calling is religious in nature. So which is it? Does it give meaning to life or not?"

I believe you're mistaken. *Most* scientists aren't giving meaning to ID. On the contrary, they think that ID is MEANINGLESS. Many people of faith think ID is MEANINGLESS. The *define* it as a religious movement, which it is. This doesn't mean it contributes anything to our understanding of either science or God.

7:18 PM  
Anonymous Grover Gardner said...

And BTW, while there may be 3,000,000,000 people who believe is a "designer" with or without empirical evidence, there are just as many who do not. So I'm afraid this is not a very good argument.

7:54 PM  
Anonymous thordaddy said...

grover opines,

>>And BTW, while there may be 3,000,000,000 people who believe is a "designer" with or without empirical evidence, there are just as many who do not.

--That's the question you continue to avoid.

How does someone believe in an IDer of which NO empirical evidence exists?

Is there a new way to process information and form beliefs outside the material world? Is there a way to pull that which is immaterial into the material world? If so, please elaborate? If not, then beliefs form from interpreting empirical evidence just the same as the belief in "science" does. That means there exists empirical evidence for an IDer.

The 3,000,000,000 observers are pretty substantial evidence unless "science" now includes the study of mass illusion, trickery and hoodwinking via supernatural causes?

1:55 AM  
Blogger Boo said...

"The only ones that have changed the definition are science and scientists. I've changed nothing. Empirical means EXACTLY what it says."

This does not change the fact that science only deals with the third of the various definitions for empirical you listed.

"Why, because scientists have actually "observed" gravity or perhaps the strong and weak nuclear forces? What sort of experiment could we do?"

What sort of experiment could we do surrounding gravity?! Ok, you've REALLY got to lay off the strange mushrooms.

"The smarter of the ID folk are looking into Design Inference, Irreducible Complexity and Complex Specified Information. That sounds like something scientific in order to do experiments."

"Sounds like something scientific" and "is scientific" are two very different statements. If my mechanic tells me my car needs a new Johnson Rod, that might "sound like" something in my car, but in reality it probably means my mechanic is trying to rip me off.

"Does a disbelief in God lead you somewhere in Science? Well, well... it certainly does."

Do even you know what you mean here? Neither belief in God or gods or the Flying Spaghetti Monster or L. Ron Hubbard nor disbelief in any of those leads you anywhere in science.

"Newton's subjective observation came to be the objective truth of gravity. The problem is that this objective truth was always objective even when it was Newton's subjective observation. Subjective observation many times has objective truth RIGHT from the get go."

Newton's observation was not "subjective." Apples fall from trees. Anyone can see an apple fall anytime they have an apple and drop it. There's no question that apples fall and that they will reliably do so any time they are dropped unless you're in space.

"The question is how 3,000,000,000 subjective, but nearly identical, observations can be said to hold NO empirical value."

Because you're not talking about observations. You're talking about the meaning people give to their observations. "This makes me feel the majesty of God" is a far cry from "This observation demonstrates that God did X and produced Y."

">>Give meaning to all things? That's not its bloody job! What are you whining about?

--It doesn't seem adverse to giving meaning to ID and calling is religious in nature. So which is it? Does it give meaning to life or not?"

Science does not "give meaning" to ID. Scientists can evaluate ID and decide whether or not it fits the parameters of science, in the same way they can evaluate whether or not Beethoven's #5 fits the definition of chemistry (no and no). If I say "I hate Beethoven's #5" would it make any sense at all to say "Science says you're wrong!"?

"Giving meaning" to things is not science's job. If your point is that people like Richard Dawkins are making unscientific statements about how science gives meaning to life, then I agree, but that's Richard Dawkins' fault, not science's.

"By what process has 3,000,000,000 people come to interpret an IDer outside of the empirical evidence?"

Faith.

4:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"By what process has 3,000,000,000 people come to interpret an IDer outside of the empirical evidence?"

Jesus loves me, this I know
Because the Bible tells me so.

What processes, what pieces of evidence accessible by sciece do you you imagine are involved?

You really don't understand the concept that ID-belief could be mistaken, do you? Not believe it - that's my view, but one for which I have no evidence - but you don't understand the possibilty that those folks could be harboring a incorrect belief, methinks. You don't get why "3 billion people can't be wrong" is not a particularly strong argument.

Weird.

-Dan S.

12:12 PM  
Anonymous thordaddy said...

anonymous opines,

>>This does not change the fact that science only deals with the third of the various definitions for empirical you listed.

--So you concede that "science" has limited the meaning of empirical evidence. Is this not proof that empirical evidence lies outside of science?

>>What sort of experiment could we do surrounding gravity?! Ok, you've REALLY got to lay off the strange mushrooms.

--The point is if "science" can distort "empirical" then why can I not distort "observe?" You have never SEEN gravity, have you? What was it doing when you gazed upon it? LOL!!

>>"Sounds like something scientific" and "is scientific" are two very different statements. If my mechanic tells me my car needs a new Johnson Rod, that might "sound like" something in my car, but in reality it probably means my mechanic is trying to rip me off.

--Then all you have said is that "science" recognizes subjective truth being inherently objective from the start. You now know something "is" science before you put it through the process? Amazing, the contortions you are allowed to do.

>>Do even you know what you mean here? Neither belief in God or gods or the Flying Spaghetti Monster or L. Ron Hubbard nor disbelief in any of those leads you anywhere in science.

--Oh really? Then why does science care if there is a designer? If this belief in no way affects science then this battle must be a giant illusion

>>Newton's observation was not "subjective." Apples fall from trees. Anyone can see an apple fall anytime they have an apple and drop it. There's no question that apples fall and that they will reliably do so any time they are dropped unless you're in space.

--Exacly, it was objective and science wasn't needed to make it so.

>>Because you're not talking about observations. You're talking about the meaning people give to their observations. "This makes me feel the majesty of God" is a far cry from "This observation demonstrates that God did X and produced Y."

--Then you are purposely distorting empirical for your own purposes?

1:11 PM  
Blogger Boo said...

Thordaddy-

I'm not anonymous, I'm Boo.

"So you concede that "science" has limited the meaning of empirical evidence. Is this not proof that empirical evidence lies outside of science?"

Science can only deal with certain kinds of evidence- not being a professional scientist, this is the best layperson's definition I can put on it, but science deals only with that which can be measured and quantified. Science cannot in any way deal with quality. Science can't tell you whether or not something is beautiful. If you want to call your opinion that a sunset is beautiful "empirical evidence" and then claim that this "empirical evidence" lies outside the purview of science, go right ahead.

"The point is if "science" can distort "empirical" then why can I not distort "observe?" You have never SEEN gravity, have you? What was it doing when you gazed upon it?"

You've also got to get out of the habit of sniffing glue. Who said science distorts empirical? What does that even mean? Gravity is a force whose effects can always reliably be seen and measured.

"Then all you have said is that "science" recognizes subjective truth being inherently objective from the start. You now know something "is" science before you put it through the process? Amazing, the contortions you are allowed to do."

And along with the mushrooms and glue, stop doing so many Whippits. Do you even know what "subjective" and "objective" mean or are you like, just throwing darts at a board with a bunch of words written on it?

"Oh really? Then why does science care if there is a designer? If this belief in no way affects science then this battle must be a giant illusion"

THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT. Science DOESN'T CARE if there's a designer because that question is outside the scope of science. That's why discussions of a designer have no place in the science classroom. It's like a science teacher using up a whole week's worth of lessons discussing whether Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Battlestar Galactica is the more compelling drama.

"Exacly, it was objective and science wasn't needed to make it so."

Along with the mushrooms, the glue, and the Whippits, stop drinking gasoline. The "high" just isn't worth what it's doing to your brain.

"Then you are purposely distorting empirical for your own purposes?"

Licking toads is also a bad idea.

Ok, try to follow me on this one:

Science does not claim to be able to provide all-encompassing answers to everything. Science, real science, has nothing to say on the question of whether there is a God one way or the other. That's why science is but one of many different disciplines. Science does not provide meaning, or beauty, or anything of that kind, because by it's nature it can't. You can't experimentally test for God because God is not a natural force.

Yes, I know, now I'm allowing him to draw me into his silliness, but I guess it's good to keep the wits in practice in case I ever have to debate this sort of thing with someone who's actually serious.

5:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"--Oh really? Then why does science care if there is a designer? If this belief in no way affects science then this battle must be a giant illusion."

Again: this is all because creationists - fancy ones, granted - are continuing a decades-old fight against science education. It's not a battle between people who believe in a designer and scientists/people who support sciece (after all, there's a good bit of overlap there) - it's between people who insist that their religious beliefs taught as science in public schools, and people who don't like science education replaced with watered-down, tarted-up religious indoctrination.

Simple.

-Dan S.

2:24 PM  
Anonymous thordaddy said...

boo opines, (sorry for addressing you incorrectly)

>>If you want to call your opinion that a sunset is beautiful "empirical evidence" and then claim that this "empirical evidence" lies outside the purview of science, go right ahead.

--What do you call it? Let's say you call the sunset "ugly." How have you drawn that interpretation outside the empirical evidence? Ironically, it's only because of the sun that you can see ANY empirical evidence. For that, the sunset could be considered beautiful.

Then you say,

>>You've also got to get out of the habit of sniffing glue. Who said science distorts empirical? What does that even mean? Gravity is a force whose effects can always reliably be seen and measured.

--Gravity can't be "seen" like you see the TV set, can it? So when you claim to "observe" gravity, are you actually saying you SEE it? This is what I'm talking about when we talk of science distorting definitions to satisfiy their needs. You can't claim a strict process for science while you loosely apply its mechanisms. But perhaps you need to read up on Quantum mechanics. Gravity is quite invisible at this level.

Then you ask,

>>Do you even know what "subjective" and "objective" mean or are you like, just throwing darts at a board with a bunch of words written on it?

--No! Please define? If I say my daughter's eyes are brown, is that SUBJECTIVE or OBJECTIVE?

Next you say,

>>THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT. Science DOESN'T CARE if there's a designer because that question is outside the scope of science. That's why discussions of a designer have no place in the science classroom.

--Doesn't Care? What do you mean?

Lastly,

>> Science does not claim to be able to provide all-encompassing answers to everything. Science, real science, has nothing to say on the question of whether there is a God one way or the other. That's why science is but one of many different disciplines. Science does not provide meaning, or beauty, or anything of that kind, because by it's nature it can't. You can't experimentally test for God because God is not a natural force.

--If there is empirical evidence for an IDer then science has its place. But as long as "science" distort various meanings to exclude some empirical evidence and stands by its, "NO empirical evidence" for an IDer then no positions will change.

The question still stands though,

By what process did 3,000,000,000 people come to interpret an IDer OUTSIDE of the empirical evidence?

Since you claim to be a layman maybe I should make it clear why the "scientists" won't answer this question in the direct. To admit empirical evidence would require science to look for ways to measure and test it. By claiming "NO empirical evidence" they avoid this pitfall only to invite another one that pits biologists against theoretical physicists. Science vs. Science. What is the process by which so many people interpret an IDer?

4:26 PM  
Blogger Boo said...

Ok, I guess you've moved from Whippits to sniffing hairspray.

"What do you call it? Let's say you call the sunset "ugly." How have you drawn that interpretation outside the empirical evidence? Ironically, it's only because of the sun that you can see ANY empirical evidence. For that, the sunset could be considered beautiful."

Why do you keep babbling on about "the empirical evidence?" The sun "could be considered" anything you want based on subjective interpretations of empirical evidence. By what process did people in cultures around the world come to consider that the sun was a god outside of "the empirical evidence"?

"Gravity can't be "seen" like you see the TV set, can it? So when you claim to "observe" gravity, are you actually saying you SEE it? This is what I'm talking about when we talk of science distorting definitions to satisfiy their needs. You can't claim a strict process for science while you loosely apply its mechanisms. But perhaps you need to read up on Quantum mechanics. Gravity is quite invisible at this level."

I didn't say you could see gravity. Read more carefully. I said you could always reliably see the effects of gravity. We know there is a force that acts to draw objects together. We call this gravity. We can measure it and be reasonably sure it will always act the way we expect it to act. You can't do that with God because God is not a force within nature, but a Person(s) outside nature.

"No! Please define? If I say my daughter's eyes are brown, is that SUBJECTIVE or OBJECTIVE?"

Do even you know what this has to do with anything?

"Doesn't Care? What do you mean?"

You asked why does science care if there's a designer. Science doesn't care if there's a designer. It has absolutely no bearing on science one way or the other.

"If there is empirical evidence for an IDer then science has its place. But as long as "science" distort various meanings to exclude some empirical evidence and stands by its, "NO empirical evidence" for an IDer then no positions will change."

There is no empirical evidence within the purview of science to do anything with.

"The question still stands though,

By what process did 3,000,000,000 people come to interpret an IDer OUTSIDE of the empirical evidence?"

I already answered this question. If you hadn't done so much peyote you would remember. Faith. There is no way to "measure and test" people's belief to any meaningful conclusion about the natural world.

6:21 PM  
Anonymous thordaddy said...

boo opines,

>>Faith.

--Please do elaborate on how someone gets "faith." If this happens outside the observation, interpretation and meaning paradigm, please explain?

2:58 AM  
Blogger Boo said...

"Please do elaborate on how someone gets "faith." If this happens outside the observation, interpretation and meaning paradigm, please explain?"

If you're actually going to argue that there is a scientific way to measure and determine the truth of faith, then you've done enough drugs to permanently fry your brain. I was right the first time. You're just trying to lead everyone in circles.

6:55 AM  
Anonymous thordaddy said...

boo asks,

>>If you're actually going to argue that there is a scientific way to measure and determine the truth of faith, then you've done enough drugs to permanently fry your brain. I was right the first time. You're just trying to lead everyone in circles.

--If it happens in the physical world then why can't science measure it? If "faith" comes via a supernatural method then this explanation seems highly unscientific.

5:58 PM  
Blogger Boo said...

Now you want faith to be scientific?! Do they even have names for all the drugs you're doing?

5:27 AM  
Anonymous thordaddy said...

boo,

Are you aware of the process by which one aquires "faith," scientifically-speaking?

Once you've answered this question we may proceed and simplify this argument?

9:00 PM  
Blogger Boo said...

Thordaddy- thank you for the excellent job you have done demonstrating why ID doesn't belong in science class. At this point there's really nothing more for me to add because you've made the case against yourself perfectly.

6:34 AM  
Anonymous thordaddy said...

boo,

Apparently, science is not your forte. I have found scientist after scientist refusing to answer this simple question and you merely join the list as one who can't put forward a coherent answer.

What is the scientific process by which someone acquires "faith?"

Is this process outside of science?

Is this process outside the material, naturalististic world?

You refuse to answer this question for very obvious reasons OR you simply have NO idea, but pontificate like you do anyway.

My answer is very simple and scientific.

"Faith" is acquired like all other "truths" are acquired. The process involved is the interpretation of empirical evidence and the subsequent meaning given to this interpretation.

Science does not allow another process to partake and yet you are arguing that some process outside of sicence is underway when someone acquires his/her "faith."

HOW UNSCIENTIFIC!!

11:18 AM  

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