RSS 2.0 Feed

» Welcome Guest Log In :: Register

Pages: (121) < [1] 2 3 4 5 6 ... >   
  Topic: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed., Sternberg, Gonzalez, Crocker - A film< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
Glen Davidson

Posts: 1100
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 07 2007,14:31   

Thanks, J-Dog.

I don't know why posts aren't appearing in any timely fashion, but it makes me more certain that I ought to save my posts here.  I wrote another one today, which at least is supposed to be awaiting moderation.  It goes thusly:

I'm going to try to post, though it doesn't seem that posts are going through now.

Here's Kevin Miller, one of the writers of "Expelled":

--When I say ID is friendly to belief in God in a way that classical Darwinism is not, what I mean is Darwinism literally has no need for the God hypothesis. According to Darwinists like Richard Dawkins, everything can be explained purely by natural forces--including the origin of information, consciousness, and life itself. If you want to bring God into the picture, that is a belief that you are adding to science. It is not required by the science itself, and many Neo-Darwinists believe it gets in the way of science. ID, on the other hand, suggests that rather than something tacked onto one's interpretation of science, God--or whoever you believe to be the Intelligent Designer--is literally at the heart of nature itself, as expressed through information like the genetic code. Therefore, the search for potential signs of intelligence in nature becomes a legitimate scientific enterprise rather than a pseudo-scientific one. IDers are essentially asking the same question as the Darwinists: How did the information get there? What separates them from the Darwinists is that they are willing to consider intelligence as one possible cause. This is not to deny the power of mechanisms like random mutation and natural selection. All the IDers are saying is that such forces are simply inadequate to explain the origin and development of life. Once again, it is not just the IDers who are questioning this. There is huge debate amongst the Darwinists themselves as to which mechanisms are most important and at what level (group, individual, molecular) they operate.--

This tells us all that we need to know about both ID and about the movie.  What Miller doesn't know is that science doesn't presuppose entities like God or the wink-wink nudge-nudge "Designer", it looks for the best hypothesis.  He is trying to tell us that ID is science because it has decided already that God (or "the Designer") is at the heart of nature, so instead of simply searching for the best explanation, ID searches for "potential signs of intelligence in nature".  

That is not science, that's apologetics.  This is what Stein is accusing "Big Science" of suppressing, which of course it is suppressing in the realm of science, for the very good reason that insinuating religious presuppositions about God's role in nature into science is a perversion of the search for explanations in which science engages.  It is exactly the kind of perverse injection of religion into science that Galileo opposed, and for which he was persecuted.  I guess Stein and the rest just want to bring back the good old days of harming those who won't accept religion as the adjudicator of science.

Miller is admitting that his religious presuppositions are what drive ID and the whine in the movie, and, for anyone who believes in the integrity of science, he provides the clinching case against both ID and the movie's false charges of suppression (that is, I don't deny its suppression in science, I deny that there is anything illegitimate about keeping pseudoscience out of science).

It should (but doesn't) go without saying that scientists are not unwilling to consider that intelligence could play a role in the development of life.  The fact that there is no evidence for this intelligence in evolutionary processes is why the null hypothesis (that intelligence is not involved, save through modern human manipulations) is the working hypothesis in science, and will be up until the point where evidence of intelligence guiding evolution is produced by someone (it is unlikely that IDists could produce such evidence, even were it to exist, for they do almost no science--indicative of how little even they think of ID as actual science).  It is grossly unfair to claim that we won't consider intelligence, since we do in any number of cases, and our complaint against ID is that it merely assumes intelligence without any evidence, a fact that Miller tacitly concedes in the excerpt above.

ID is nothing but religious apologetics, a fact that many IDists deny, but one that Miller and Stein's movie only demonstrate is the case.  Science doesn't simply assume that God is directing hurricanes and earthquakes to cause death and destruction to humanity, nor does it simply assume that God designed malarial parasites to effectively sicken and kill humans like Behe suggests that he did.  

Science looks at the evidence, and sees that malaria organisms (Plasmodium falciparum) show evidence of having non-teleologically evolved, both in the manner of its uncaring attacks on humans and in its genomic information, and thus it accepts that it evolved non-teleologically under the present evidence.  Miller and the other IDists have to assume that malaria was designed, then they have to insist that undesign-like features, such as its genome evolved along the constraints predicted by evolutionary theory, are, contrary to all expectations, the result of design.  

This they do because from the start they assumed that God was central to the development of life, which they do not similarly assume for the development of hurricanes.  Why do they suppose that we ought to accept the one assumption without any evidence, while not accepting the other one, due to its lack of evidence?

Glen D

This post added on 9-9-07

--Glenn Davidson:

I must respecfully challenge your contention that creation science and intelligent design are equivalent.--

Considering that I never made that contention here, I have no idea why you're trying to pin me with it.  The fact is that one may treat the various types of creationism differently, or one may treat them as the same, much as IDists do whenever it is convenient for them to do so.

As Deleuze notes, repetition involves difference.  That's why I usually speak of IDists and creationists if I'm discussing both, no matter how similar the two are.  That some will always include a "C" with ID is also understandable (that is, they write "IDC" rather than "ID"), as in "Intelligent Design Creationism".  It hardly matters, of course, whether one drags out creation over 4 billion years or so, the essence is still creation.  It's an absurd concept that "design" would require as long a time as non-teleological evolution is thought to do, but there's nothing new about religious apologists being absurd.

--To better appreciate the differences, I submit to you an interesting historical perspective of both movements.--

Actually, the history is that Paley was an inspiration both to IDists of various stripes since his time, including young earth creationists (YECs).  "Design" is an old YEC claim, and most of Behe's examples were used before Darwin's Black Box by creationists.  Look up "cdesign proponentsists" on the web for the cavalier manner in which one "textbook" was turned from a creationist one into a "design proponent" text.

--Mankind has always been interested in investigating the relationship between God and nature.--

Or the gods and nature, or in how the spirits of nature themselves operate (like the Greek river gods).  It's interesting how readily the "scientific" intelligent design "theorists" allow their theologies to creep into their language.

--At times, philosophy defined the debate; at other times, science seemed to have the upper hand.--

Get real.  Modern science began with, say, Galileo, or more certainly with Newton.  Science has mostly had the upper hand since then, although IDists are very unhappy about actually applying scientific standards to biology.  Hence they wish to change it to accept unevidenced flim-flam, the most beautiful example being when Behe noted on the stand at Dover that astrology would be science under his definition (he seems to have meant only until it was found not to produce results, but it hardly matters, since he there was equating anthropocentric "hypotheses" and actual science hypothesization).

--What has always mattered in this discussion is in which direction the investigation proceeds.--

What has always mattered is how the investigation begins, whether with evidence and minimal biases, or with theistic prejudices.  Kevin Miller wants us to believe that the latter is as legitimate a starting place as the former.  I bet he wouldn't want to be tried for a crime under similar prejudices.

--Does it move forward, that is, does it assume something about God and then interpret nature in that context;--

Assuming something about God is not moving forward.  It is moving backward to the time when science was checked by theology.

--or does it move backward, that is, does it observe something interesting in nature and then speculate about how that might have come to be?--

No, it hypothesizes about how something came to be, and it uses scientific knowledge to do so.  That is, normal causal knowledge is used in any legitimate science.  What Stein, Kevin Miller, and apparently you, want to do is to believe in the kind of "Cause" that Aquinas believed in, something that is only speculation, not the result of continued investigation like causes in classical science happens to be.

--If the investigation moves forward, as does CD, it is faith based; if it moves backward, as does ID, it is empirically based.--

Here you show how very little you know about the practice of science.  Speculation is for metaphysics and theology.  Good solid evidence understood according to normal causality is how science proceeds.  ID only tries to force God into the picture because it is theistic metaphysics.  You can't honestly move from the evidence of continued inheritance with modification with no identifiable breaks into the theistic belief in "design".  If the IDists were honest they'd admit that there is nothing similar between known design practices and evolved characteristics, even if sometimes the results can have a functional equivalence and overall similarities (but the details are what always differentiate evolutionary products and design, hence Dembski's snort at our "pathetic level of detail" which he refuses to engage in, when all of science is about the "details").

But then you seem not to be discussing science, only claiming that religious ID operates differently from religious creationism.  I really don't care, of course, since neither one is doing honest science.

--Each approach has a pedigree that goes back over two thousand years.--

The fact is that the two are doing much the same thing, utilizing their prior beliefs to try to cram themselves into science.  Of course ID wants to claim that it's making valid inferences from the evidence, but it quite obviously is not.  Both intend to bring "science" into accordance with theology and the Bible, of course, the main difference being that creationism tends toward literalism, ID tends more toward medieval metaphysics.

--We notice the forward approach, in Tertullian, Augustine, Bonaventure, and Anselm.--

The whole point of Anselm's ontological proof is to show that God exists sans prior belief in revelation.  So you're hardly characterizing him properly there.  Augustine seems to go back and forth between your "forward approach" and the supposedly different "backward approach".  And he might as well, since modern philosophy and science understand both "directions" to be impossibly dependent upon beliefs which "deconstruct" upon questioning.

--Augustine described it best with the phrase, “faith seeking understanding.” In each case, the investigation is faith based.--

Augustine was not particularly a literalist, and often brought "faith" ideas into line with the evidence as he understood it.  Furthermore, he himself was something of a philosopher who used more than just faith to make his arguments.  Famously, Descartes' "cogito ergo sum" appears to be a reformulation of Augustine's anti-skepticism argument, and from they way that he uses it, one guesses that it was a familiar anti-skeptical argument of his day.

--By contrast, we discover the “backward” orientation in Aristotle,--

You have no business putting Aristotle in with Aquinas and Paley.  Aristotle was nothing like an IDist, or a faith-based thinker like Aquinas and Paley.  He was what philosophers often call "logocentric," if not as much as Plato was.  Nevertheless, he is sometimes called the "first scientist", for he did use empirical data for some of his conclusions, most notably biological conclusions.

--Aquinas, Paley, and others.--

These guys are apologists.  Nothing strikingly wrong with that, especially considering Aquinas's excellent thought.  Nevertheless, if Aristotle was at least somewhat like a modern scientist, Aquinas is solidly metaphysical and a non-scientist, while Paley is just a Reverend trying to come up with evidence that "proves" his faith.  There is nothing new about the fact that Paley's "argument" wasn't based on literalism, just as ID is not, but it relies wholly upon an unevidenced concept, God, to "explain" without the rigor of scientific causality.

--Aristotle’s argument, which begins with “motion in nature” and reasons BACK to a “prime mover,” is obviously empirically based.--

It obviously is not empirically based.  Rather than noting motions in the heavens (which seems to be where his "god" is most being used to "explain motion") and acknowledging that he did not have an explanation for them under his "physics," he just invented a God "thinking himself" which supposedly produced the motions.  It isn't for nothing that such a speculation came in the book now called "Metaphysics," for that work is largely involved in non-empirical speculations.  It is a thoughtful and intelligent work, nothing like ID's attempts to confuse the issues and to have God producing exactly the sorts of patterns of evolution among prokaryotes and among eukaryotes that would accrue through the mechanisms we see affecting each respectively, however it is not an empirical approach at all.

--Obviously, Barbara Forrest and Judge Jones III and others miss the point. CS and ID are simply the latest manifestations of each tradition.--

Obviously they do not miss the main point, which is that although ID is based more in medieval metaphysics and creationism is based more upon a kind of Biblical literalism, both are nothing other than apologetics.  If they had a bit more philosophical knowledge they might at least differentiate between ID and creationism somewhat better, for there are some actual differences (Catholics who reject science tend more toward medieval metaphysics and ID, Protestants who reject science tend more toward Bible literalism).

--I therefore ask you to reconsider your point that the the two are synomymous,--

I ask you to read what I write better than you have, for I did not claim that the two are synonymous.  They're equally non-scientific, though, which I no doubt did imply or state at some point.  Perhaps that is why you merely assumed that I made the two out to be synonymous.

--either theoretically or pragmatically.--

What matters in this debate is that neither one is science, and both are religious apologetics.  Science is what should be taught in science classes, not religion.

Glen D

This, on 9-10-07

--Glen Davidson, rather than respond to all your points (many of which I would challenge),--

You don't challenge them.  More importantly, you haven't the knowledge to do so, but deny like IDists normally do.

--I will try to narrow the focus even more. You tend to impose religious concepts in places where they don’t belong.--

Sorry, I'm the one trying to keep religion out of where it doesn't belong.  Your confusions are inadequate to keep religious presuppositions in their place.  Or more to the point, in many hands they seem designed to deliberately confuse the issues.

--Aristotle did not mention a “prime mover” to inject God into the discussion.--

Here you go in your strawman attack mode again.  I wrote:

--Rather than noting motions in the heavens (which seems to be where his “god” is most being used to “explain motion”) and acknowledging that he did not have an explanation for them under his “physics,” he just invented a God “thinking himself” which supposedly produced the motions. It isn’t for nothing that such a speculation came in the book now called “Metaphysics,” for that work is largely involved in non-empirical speculations. --

I didn't begin to say that Aristotle did "mention a 'prime mover' to inject God into the discussion," which false charge is as incorrect as your many other errors.  I wrote, essentially, that he had no explanation, so he invented one.  That's what religions have often done.

--His point was similar to Aquinas’. Everything in nature that moves must be moved by something else.--

Well gee, I suppose it was similar to Aquinas' "proof of God," since Aquinas' "proof" almost certainly comes ultimately from Aristotle.  

Importantly, everything in nature that moves must not in fact be moved by something else.  This gets back the metaphysics of Aristotle, for indeed he speculated where he had no empirical evidence.  

--In his judgment, that process can not go on forever—it must stop at the point of a “prime mover.” Aquinas made the same point, popularizing the term “inifinite regress,” meaning that the number of prior causes must be finite and finally culminate in a causeless cause. In that context, they were not beginning with faith, they were beginning with observation.--

I wonder why those ignorant of philosophy think they have something to tell those of us who are adept in philosophy.  I know very well what Aristotle, and Aquinas following him, said.  My point was that there is nothing empirical in their "solutions," unlike Galileo's and Newton's physics, and you yammer on about the rationale of a non-empirical "physics" and metaphysics which existed prior to Galileo.

Can't you at least see why we oppose the insistence of the pseudoscientists that we adopt the Aristotelian nonsense that was used (in part) to persecute Galileo?  That's what ID is, where it isn't actually the same as creationism, an attempt to base their "science" on the mistaken presuppositions of Aristotle and medieval scholastics.  

Indeed, Dembski quite directly claims that we need to consider the other "causes" listed by Aristotle (material, formal, and final), along with his "efficient cause" (which really wasn't the same as causation today, though it at least is related to it).  Well we largely gave up the others because they don't work in science, and we're not impressed with the claims made by Aristotle which have been refuted by modern science.  And ID has little else, and nothing worthwhile.

--Obviously, that doesn’t mean that Aristotle and Aquinas never thought about God, it means that they were looking for a method that would dramatize the power of reason without presuming God’s existence.--

Except that they had indelibly in their minds the "fact" of God's existence, though certainly Aristotle was willing to play around with this "fact".  And they operated with metaphysics which assumed top-down imposition of form and motion, while modern science understands it, more or less, bottom up (I don't like speaking of modern science as "bottom up", but compared to the hierarchical IDist claims, and in its metaphysical language, that's the closest I can come to a comparison).  That's why the great majority of Aristotle's work is not science, no matter that he had some of the elements of science working even in his unworkable "physics" (and science almost certainly benefited by Aquinas' incorporation of Aristotelian ideas into Western thought, until Aristotle became a millstone around Galileo's neck).

--One may or may not have religious motives for undertaking such an investigation, but the motive does not define the process.--

Another strawman from Stephen.  I have repeatedly noted that religious motives needn't define the process, as in Galileo, Einstein, Newton, and Lord Kelvin (though both Newton and Kelvin left science in some of their claims).  It's the IDists, not religious people in general, who object to the science which developed to its full flowering within Christendom (with help from ancient pagans and contemporary Jews and Muslims, and almost certainly others as well) who have to force their unwarranted presuppositions into science because they are unwilling to accept the tests of their ideas that science provides.

--So why do I fuss about that?--

No doubt because you'd rather attack a strawman than what I actually wrote, and because you have nothing with which to legitimately argue for ID.

--Why do I narrow the topic to so sharp a point?--

I see nothing sharp or on-point in your treatment of the subject.  Learn some philosophy, at least, if you're unwilling to learn science.

--Because the major objection to intelligent design is the false assertion that THE PROCESS begins with presupposition (faith) and therefore cannot possibly be science.--

Good grief, the major objection to intelligent design is that it has absolutely no sound evidence in favor of it.  I know that you're just making up stuff as you go along, Stephen, but you'd look a whole lot more competent if you'd learn what's at stake.

And the fact that theistic assumptions are necessary in order to arrive at "God" or "the Designer" is another grave objection, one that you seem not even to understand how to potentially address.

--One either begins with presupposition or one begins with observation.--

No, one does not.  One begins with the way that one understands the world (Kant), and one begins with observation (which actually shape Kantian "categories" and the like).  Even presuppositions begin with observations, however they do often intrude into further observation, as is the case with ID.

--Intelligent design begins with observation.--

ID begins with a prejudice, the sort of animistic/typological sense that the world must operate like humans do (probably unavoidable in early humans, for what other processes could they know?).  There are observations involved (gee, it's pretty complicated, and other equally mindless ID tripe), but first and foremost ID begins with a metaphysics which is illegitimate in science and in modern philosophy (possibly not in some dungeons of analytic philosophy (think of Saul Kripke), but certainly in mainstream analytic and continental philosophy).

--If you will not concede anything else, surely you will concede that.--

Sure, I studied philosphy in order to concede that metaphysics is due to observation.  Ha.  

What I can say is that you're pretty far from a good understanding of metaphysics, philosophy, or science.  ID cannot reach the "conclusion" that there was a "designer" without first putting their God into their premises (or, one might say, only if they fail to disabuse themselves of their anthropocentric prejudices, since that's from where those premises come).  It's all top-down metaphysics, assertion that DNA information can only come from mind, and denial of the evidence of derivation of all life via the processes operating at present.  

If you knew anything about the philosophy you invoke, Stephen, you'd know that I'd never concede that ID begins with observation, for I have studied both the history of philosophy and those who have analyzed the presuppositions of the metaphysicians and logocentrists.  One does not concede a falsehood, above all.

Glen D

Another on 9-11-07

Glen Davidson Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.

September 11th, 2007 at 12:24 pm
–Glen Davidson, actually, I made a typo on post 1118. What I meant was that you missed my point, not that you didn’t read the post or respond in a timely manner. So, calm down.–

I hadn’t responded to you yet, so how could I have missed your point?

–You say that you haven’t conflated CS with ID, yet you continue to claim that ID, in effect, bootlegs religion into its methodology which is what CS does–

I don’t conflate CS with ID, but I also don’t accept your unevidenced assertion that the difference is that ID isn’t religious. In fact, all of the evidence is that ID is overwhelmingly religious, from it’s “big tent” strategy and its refusal to address the scientific question of the age of the earth (physicist Heddle had a falling out with IDists over that, because he knows that the age of the earth is extremely important in science, and for him, especially astronomy), to the religious statements known from most of its prominent proponents. Dembski famously stated that, “Dembski: “Intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory,” Touchstone Magazine. Volume 12, Issue4: July/August, 1999? (my source for this was Wikipedia, article “Intelligent Design”).

I would not say that one absolutely has to be religious in order to take up the most minimal tenets of ID. They’d be wrong to do so, likely basing their acceptance of it on teleological biases and incredulity at self-organizing principles, but they wouldn’t have to be exactly religious (arguably, however, they’d be using a metaphysics which is in essence religious, without their recognizing this). What matters is that the movement, and particularly the attempts to force ID into schools and to censor science and its standards, is heavily based in religion and done for the sake of religion.

–So I don’t get why you think I am putting words in your mouth.–

That’s because there is so much that you don’t get. You have your unquestioned “reasons” why ID isn’t the same as creationism, and when someone disagrees with you and tells you how they really do differ, you simply don’t grasp the reasons I have. That is to say, like so many pro-IDists, you really don’t know what makes up philosophy and science, and the various ways that we have of addressing matters, and instead you rely on the narrow claims of IDists and other religionists to set the “standard”.

It’s precisely such narrowness that we are trying to prevent. And no, of course we’re not trying to force the teaching of evolution in the churches, for it is the open society that negates Ben Stein’s charges. The problem is that Ben and the rest wish to intrude their non-standards into another sector of society that allows the reality-based community scope for action, thereby compromising our freedoms to associate and to act as we wish.

Indeed, if that happens it will be the worst for the religious, for there will no longer be any reason why the churches shouldn’t be forced to teach evolution or anything else that society at large might wish everyone to learn.

–If one begins with presupposition (faith, bias, religion etc), one is doing creation science; if one begins with observation and draws inferences from data, one is doing ID.–

Again, Dembski said, “Intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.”

–I say ID begins with observation; you (seem) to say it begins with a religious presuppoition.–

How about this, why don’t you tell me what observation leads one to God, or to “the Designer”. I mentioned that the major problem we have with ID is not that it is religious, but that it has no sound evidence in favor of it. That it begins with religion is a problem, but if by strange chance ID (an earlier ID, one that wasn’t so intent on refusing to make inherent predictions) happened to make the right predictions predicated on what we know about design, it would likely be accepted as science (depends upon the circumstances).

That is to say, we keep asking for meaningful observations from IDists, and we never receive any (other than the equivalents of “it looks designed” or the false dichotomy of “evolution isn’t up to the task, hence design is true”—we want evidence for ID, for, even if modern evolutionary failed, there’s no apparent reason why ID would explain anything at all). So yes, of course I’m saying that ID doesn’t begin with observation, that’s essentially the whole case against ID as any kind of science, even as a failed science. We ask for observational data which would point to design (like rational layouts of organisms and systems, instead of the evolved systems and organisms that we see). We ask and ask and ask, and we never receive it. If ID began with observation (and we do mean using the standard observational practices of science and forensics), I’m sure that we’d either have some of the evidence for ID that we have requested, or an admission on the part of IDists that ID isn’t science.

–Am I misreading your position or connecting dots that aren’t there?–

There isn’t any question that I state and have alwasy stated that ID doesn’t begin with observation. IDists no doubt often think that they do, however their unquestioned assumptions and unquestioned human predilections for presupposing purpose and design that isn’t there, precede them.

Glen D


Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of coincidence---ID philosophy

  3612 replies since Aug. 12 2007,07:23 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

Pages: (121) < [1] 2 3 4 5 6 ... >   

Track this topic Email this topic Print this topic

[ Read the Board Rules ] | [Useful Links] | [Evolving Designs]