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December 21, 2005

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dopderbeck

Maurile -- ok, I partly agree with you here. You may be right that some assertions ID theorists have tried to make aren't really falsifiable. And you are right that ID is more than IC. Yet, IC is one of the central arguments in current ID theory. If IC is falsifiable, by the current commonly accepted definition of what constitutes scientific reasoning, IC is a scientific claim. Therefore, at least this one claim of ID theory is falsifiable. It is not true, then, that ID is entirely non-scientific. We could then have an interesting discussion about whether the foundational assumptions of any metatheory are truly falsifiable, including the assumption of naturalism.

Jay Byrd

"Please don't accuse me of dissembling if you either haven't read, or can't accurately represent, the underlying data."

The "underlying data" is the point made both here and at your site that

"As irreducible complexity is only a negative argument against evolution, it is refutable and accordingly testable, unlike ID .... Importantly, however, the fact that the negative argument of irreducible complexity is testable does not make testable the argument for ID."

So are you blind? Stupid? Dishonest? All three?

Deborah Spaeth

dopderbeck

"Yes Deborah, you really nailed me there -- no one's called me names like that since, well, the third grade."

Oh yeah -- when the teacher caught you in the circle jerk. That was funny.

Jay Byrd

"If IC is falsifiable, by the current commonly accepted definition of what constitutes scientific reasoning, IC is a scientific claim. Therefore, at least this one claim of ID theory is falsifiable. It is not true, then, that ID is entirely non-scientific."

This patently dishonest. No one claims that "ID is entirely non-scientific" in this pathetic sense; after all, Michael Behe is a biochemist and argues in scientific terms. The claim in dispute is whether ID is a scientific theory -- it is not, and all your blathering about IC won't make it so.

maurile

"If IC is falsifiable, by the current commonly accepted definition of what constitutes scientific reasoning, IC is a scientific claim."

Just like flogiston theory.

dopderbeck

Jay,

I don't agree that IC properly understood is only a negative argument against evolution. IC suggests that a low probability that an IC system could have arisen randomly supports an affirmative inference of design. I don't view that as merely a negative argument against evolution.

Jay Byrd

It's worth reiterating this point by Judge Jones:

"As irreducible complexity is only a negative argument against evolution, it is refutable and accordingly testable"

ID has two prongs: that the theory of evolution is inadequate to explain biodiversity, and that therefore there must be an intelligent designer. In order to support the first prong, IDists, like their creationist brethren, marshall a number of empirical claims against evolution; these are scientifically refutable claims. But that is not enough to make ID a scientific theory. If it were, then the creationist claim that men and dinosaurs coexisted would make creationism a scientific theory.

Deborah Spaeth

" IC suggests that a low probability that an IC system could have arisen randomly supports an affirmative inference of design."

Or equally an inference that it was pooped out by an IC-pooping deity.

Right, dopderbeck?

I'm right but dopderbeck will never admit it.

Why?

Because that would admitting that his "inference" is nothing more than deity poop.

And dopderbeck can't do that. His preachers would be terribly disappointed if he did such a thing.

Deborah Spaeth

dopderbeck

"I don't agree that IC properly understood is only a negative argument against evolution."

Fyi, it doesn't matter what david opderbeck disagrees with or not because, as has been demonstrated in this comment, david opderbeck makes up his garbage as he goes along and lies about it later.

It's sort of pathetic and a little bit psychotic, but then again all fundamentalist fanatic types tend to behave this way.

Of course, only the Islamic types get their phones tapped. Wacky Christian fanatics like David Opderbeck get a free pass. They're "harmless", or so we're told.

Jay Byrd

"I don't agree that IC properly understood is only a negative argument against evolution."

a) The claim of affirmative inference of design is pure argumentum ad ignorantiam.
b) IC systems are, as I have already noted, not only not inconsistent with evolution, but *predicted* by evolution.
c) The claim about the low probability that an IC system will evolve is like the claim that there's a low probability that anyone will win the lottery because there's a low probability that I will. This issue was treated during Behe's testimony about his research -- given enough time and organisms, events of a sort that individually have low probability will occur frequently -- it's a simple multiplication.

Jay Byrd

""If IC is falsifiable, by the current commonly accepted definition of what constitutes scientific reasoning, IC is a scientific claim."

Just like flogiston theory."

Do you have a point, maurile? pooperdreck is arguing (fallaciously) that, if some claim that ID proponents make is falsifiable, then ID is falsifiable. There's nothing like that related to flogiston.

Jay Byrd

"From there it's not a big jump to see that the same thing could be done with ID."

The only way to make YEC scientific is to remove the C part -- to argue that the earth is young, without making any claims as to how it was created. If we try to do the same with ID, we have to remove the I and the D. It is possible to have a scientific theory of a young earth; it is possible to have a scientific theory of efficiently functional organisms. But it is not possible to have a scientific theory of intelligent design. Young earth, efficiently functional organisms, and evolution are all *outcomes*, the sort of thing that scientific theories explain. But "intelligent design" is not an outcome, and calling something a "theory of intelligent design" doesn't make it one.

maurile

Forgive me for not understanding what dopderbeck's point was.

I figured that he was arguing that if IC is falsifiable, it should be accepted by the science community and taught in science classes.

I was pointing out that it takes more than falsifiability for a theory to be accepted. Like being, you know, non-false.

Jay Byrd

"You may be right that some assertions ID theorists have tried to make aren't really falsifiable. "

*may* be right? How about "life was intelligently designed"?

Are you eve going to retract your lie, "If falsifiability is the criterion, Miller effectively admits that ID is science"?

Jay Byrd

"Forgive me for not understanding what dopderbeck's point was."

No, since he made it in the same paragraph you quoted.

"I figured"

Yeah, well, that explains a lot.

Unsympathetic reader

law fairy comments: "Here's the problem with the talk about radiation and other such things that could "falsify" the Big Bang theory -- they're based on what is essentially a guess about how the universe started."

That sentence probably explains why he doesn't call himself the "physics fairy". My gosh, take a hypothesis, determine whether the idea can be used to differentiate a number of possible outcomes and determine whether the physical observations match the outcomes predicted -- That's sounds exactly like good science to me. Here's another one: Take the current state of the universe, gather information about past conditions (made easier because the speed of light is finite and pictures of things that are farther away are images of past conditions). Extrapolate and compare to the outcome of possible hypotheses about how conditions would appear in the early universe. What you get is a real hot, tiny speck at the beginning.

So yes, one could say the Big Bang theory started with a guess but there's been a whole sh*tload of work done in physics and astronomy since then to confirm or reject the theory.

further..."But I honestly don't see how postulating a Big Bang is any more scientific than postulating an other natural First Cause. The Big Bang is just a way to explain the origins of the universe without having to appeal to God or something we can't fit into a laboratory..."

I'd suggest learning a little more about the subject before making bold claims about how physicists do science. A brush up course on theology and religious apologetics would not be a bad idea either. Many Christians see the Big Bang as something quite compatible with the Genesis account of creation. So no, it also wasn't a bunch of scientists just trying to squeeze out God. It is just trying to figure out how things go together.

Seriously, consider adding something like John Polkinghorne's "Faith of a Physicist" or something from George Murphy and Howard VanTill to your holiday reading list.

maurile

Jay Byrd wrote: "The only way to make YEC scientific is to remove the C part -- to argue that the earth is young, without making any claims as to how it was created. If we try to do the same with ID, we have to remove the I and the D. It is possible to have a scientific theory of a young earth; it is possible to have a scientific theory of efficiently functional organisms. But it is not possible to have a scientific theory of intelligent design. Young earth, efficiently functional organisms, and evolution are all *outcomes*, the sort of thing that scientific theories explain. But "intelligent design" is not an outcome, and calling something a "theory of intelligent design" doesn't make it one."

Cool. That's a good way to explain it, and I agree.

If the idea is that God designed everything intelligently, the "everything intelligently" part is falsifiable, while the "God designed" part isn't (unless someone can come up with a way to empricially distinguish between God-designed things and non-God-designed things). The "God designed" part would be superfluous to the theory.

I agree with that, and always have.

But I was focusing on the potential falsifiability of the "everything intelligently" part. That part isn't falsifiable under Behe et al's version of ID, but it can be made falsifiable by defining "intelligently" sufficiently.

Jay Byrd

"So yes, one could say the Big Bang theory started with a guess"

And it was pretty much ignored and even ridiculed until there was evidence to support it. The very phrase "Big Bang" was originated by astronomer and atheist Fred Hoyle as a form of ridicule.

"Many Christians see the Big Bang as something quite compatible with the Genesis account of creation."

In fact that's one of the reasons scientists tended to look askance at it -- the same scientists who embraced it when the evidence for it became overwhelming.

The stunning scientific illiteracy of folks like Law Fairy indicates how poorly our educational system does in this area -- the last thing we need is a mandate to teach pseudoscience. The notion that "The Big Bang is just a way to explain the origins of the universe without having to appeal to God or something we can't fit into a laboratory..." is akin to claiming that a round earth is just a way of explaining earthly topology without having to appeal to God or something we can't fit into the laboratory. If LF were less ignorant and foolish, he could craft a clever (though fallacious) argument that the early rejection of the Bug Bang Theory parallels the treatment of ID.

Jay Byrd

"Cool. That's a good way to explain it, and I agree."

Well, thank God for that. :-)

"If the idea is that God designed everything intelligently, the "everything intelligently" part is falsifiable"

Ah, but it isn't really, because God works in mysterious ways and how we may measure intelligent design doesn't necessarily reflect what God has in mind. I'm not making this up -- this is a real argument, put forth in numerous forums, in response to the claim that "incompetent design" is a better characterization that intelligent design. In fact, there are even opponents to ID among those that argue that evident incompetence or "stupidity", as you put it, is not a good counterargument to ID. See, e.g., http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/12/8/141418/264

maurile

Yes, I'm aware of the Mysterious Ways defense. Whether the "everything intelligently" part is falsifiable depends on how precisely and objectively we define "intelligently." That's what I've been trying to say all along. If we allow the Mysterious Ways defense or similar crutches, there's no way to empricially distinguish between stupid designs and clever designs. But if we define non-functional vestigial organs, for example, as being stupid, then the claim that no stupid designs exist would be falsifiable. (By "designs" I don't mean to imply the necessity of a designer.)

The Law Fairy

Sigh...

It's amazing how worked up the purportedly undogmatic folks get over a little criticism. I'm not trying to prove any scientific points here, and I've never claimed to be a scientific genius. My point about the Big Bang was that any other postulated cause could be taken to explain things the way it is -- you could easily come up with numerous explanations that fit what we find evidence for.

You're correct that the Big Bang is compatible with belief in God, as is evolutionary theory. However, other explanations that fit with the evidence we see that invoke God are ridiculed. I'm attrtibuting this to human arrogance. You're free to disagree, but my assessment of the motives of evolutionary scientists is no less fair than your deriding me as a foolish, ignorant idiot -- or for that matter, Judge Jones' deciding that the religious beliefs of some hick Pennsylvania residents make their educational desires unconstitutional. But I suppose that's for a debate on snobbery.

And believing the earth is round is one hundred percent different. This is something we can PRESENTLY observe. We've seen it from space. It's not something we have to postulate happened billions of years ago. If you're going to analogize, at least do it responsibly.

Oh, and please stop referring to me as "he." I don't have a Y chromosome.

AlanDownunder

Fairy:

Thanks for the partial meeting of minds. I think I can fairly boil down your beef to this:

"but this doesn't solve the constitutional issue this presents when this pseudo-philosphical side of science is given taxpayer funding and put in a classroom in which children are required to attend and listen ... And as a constitutionally-minded and freedom-minded American, I think they have the right to be heard and not mocked for thinking something different from the scientific community"

So your argument about what can be taught in schools is purely against philospohical naturalism (atheism) not methodological naturalism (science - which includes evolution) and you don't confuse the two.

If a public school board took measures to mandate the preference of philosophical materialism over methodolical materialism in science class, I'd be as against it as you are and I'd be as against as I am against the teaching of ID as science.

Maybe the Prof can tell us whether atheism qualifies as religion the way ID does and whether it is subject to constitutional challenge for being religion - not that this would be any use to the crackpots who equate science (or at least evolution) with atheism.

One thing I must add. Your people "who had a right to be heard and not mocked" got their hearing. As a result they are not surprisingly being mocked. Crackpot religion no more deserves a pass than any other variety of crackpottery. No way can I defend those deluded fools in Dover who shelved the 9th Commandment in order to throw their weight around.

Deborah Spaeth

"No way can I defend those deluded fools in Dover who shelved the 9th Commandment in order to throw their weight around."

And you shouldn't even try.

But Law Fairy's behavior here amounts to much of the same: the voice of ignorance demanding to be taken seriously, inarticulate claims mouthed as if they were compelling arguments that must be treated seriously, endless retreating into incomprehensible alleys of thought accompanied by whines of persecution ...

... it's par for the course.

Fyi, evidently the infamous Liar for Jesus named Bill Dembski is now saying that God himself might not have done the designing or creating -- He may have acted through "agents" of some sort.

I've always wonder if some imps or hobgoblins or fairies didn't give some deities an enema so the deity could excrete more species of living things. Eventually Big Bill will come around to Enterocraftic Theory.

He has to.

Go to www.pandasthumb.org to read more about it.

Jay Byrd

"That's what I've been trying to say all along."

maurile, You've been saying it over and over while ignoring my counterpoint -- that to use terms like "intelligent" or "design" to describe something like universal functional efficiency (not that there is any such universality) *begs the question*. That's why your original claim, *the one I disputed*, that it's possible to have a scientific theory of intelligent design is *false*. You can propose a scientific theory of universal functional efficiency, but that *isn't* a scientific theory of intelligent design.

Sheesh.

Jay Byrd

"It's amazing how worked up the purportedly undogmatic folks get over a little criticism."

It's not at all amazing how intellectually dishonest folks indulge in such transparently ad hominem arguments. Whether people are worked up or not, your "criticism" is wrong on the facts and logic.

"And believing the earth is round is one hundred percent different. This is something we can PRESENTLY observe. We've seen it from space."

Oh, so it was just "postulation" before we sent cameras into space? This demonstrates either that you lack even a rudimentary grasp of everyday epistemlogy, or that you and good faith have never shared company. Your comments on science are grossly uninformed, so your comments on what is "responsible" are irrelevant.

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