Joined: Jan. 2007
(sorry for length!)
Denyse's Arson Investigation Confusion Continues:
Evidently not convinced that ID is dying quickly enough on it's own, Denyse presents an argument from analogy: Fire marshall's routinely conclude "design" (technically, "arson") from investigating the evidence, and that's really all that ID does, so if you think that fire marshalls should be allowed to make design inferences, it follows that you should allow for scientists (re: IDers) to infer design, too.
(Note this is not the first time Denyse has made these arguments, she made similar claims here: http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelli....-denied and they were rather succinctly debunked here: http://litcandle.blogspot.com/2007....u.html) where RLC observes that in order to make the "design inference" the fire marshall does, it is absolutely imperative that he have some knowledge of the suspected arsonists means, motives, and abilities. We will continue in RLC's vein.)
Of course, Denyse does not notices these objections, and goes on:
If the FMO concludes that the fire is arson, far from losing the ability to find out anything more, it is in a position to focus on key details (Where was the fire started? What accelerant and how much? What was the pattern and timing of spread?).
This is an interesting facet of ID that RLC touched on, but is rarely made so clear - Denyse seems to believe that the fire marshall is in a position to conclude that the fire was arson without considering relevant information like "Where was the fire started? What accelerant and how much? What was the pattern and timing of spread?" - but if this information can only be considered after the determination of intelligent design was made, what information, pray tell, was used to make the design conclusion in the first place? Without the relevant information: means, mode, motive, the FMO has no evidence available to determine arson in the first place. Note that this is more than a rhetorical trick - the discontinuity here underlies all of ID: ID assumes that we can make conclusions regarding design in nature lacking any knowledge regarding the abilities, motives, and means of the purported designer; but in doing so the argument falls flat. (Again RLC makes similar points here: http://litcandle.blogspot.com/2007....u.html)
It's also worth noting that scientists routinely infer design when the means, mode, and motive of the purported designers are well established, so the IDers claims that science rules out design a priori is patently false.
(This defense will work better if her client has looked and acted, throughout the proceedings, like a large rodent crammed into a dress suit, and appears truly unable to grasp the moral significance of the accusations against him.)
At this point Denyse apparently wades into the moral and ethical underpinnings of the ID conclusion - we might ask Denyse why being created by aliens allows us to grasp the moral significance of our actions. I am sure ID will propose an answer.
Should scientists refuse to consider design a possibility because they are “objective”?
I've never heard an argument that suggested that scientists can't consider ID a possibility because they are "objective" - it's not clear what that means. I and others have suggested that ID is not a valid scientific theory because it makes no testable claims - precisely because it refuses to speculate on the means, modes, and motives of the designer.
Well, how about this: Suppose the FMO gets a call from a leading local politician announcing that he wants the arson investigation called off because the FMO has no business assuming that someone might have wanted that building torched?
If the FMO thinks it has reasonable grounds for pursuing its present line of inquiries, should it meekly accept that argument? Should we assume that the politician obstructing the investigation is “objective”? Or rather that he is trying to defend somebody or something? In the same way, materialists attempting to suppress ID-friendly scientists are hardly “objective” in the matter.
But now the argument takes a turn for the worse; Denyse accuses people who think that methodological naturalism is a good way to do science of "trying to defend someone or something" (i.e. arsonists, and probably rapists too); but the "thing" being defended is no arsonist - it is the very underpinnings of science. Of course by Denyse's analogy, those who think that methodological naturalism is a sound premise of science are actually hiding arsonits in their basements.
EDIT: fixed typos, and stupid HTML