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Atheist philosopher Bradley Monton rebuts “anti-science” claims re ID, contra Ken Miller

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Bradley Monton, author of Seeking God in Science: An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design (Broadview Press, 2009), has this to say about design theory as a legitimate approach to science:

I’ll start with Ken Miller’s 2008 book Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul. In additon to giving straightforward biology-based criticisms of Behe’s irreducible complexity argument … Miller also has a more fundamental critique of intelligent design (the “Battle for America’s Soul” part).

Miller makes the claim that the intelligent design movement doesn’t just want to “win the battle against Darwin”; the intelligent design movement wants to “win the greater war against science itself.”
This claim that the intelligent design movement is anti-science is quite a strong claim. The way intelligent design proponents typically portray their activity is that they are looking for scientific evidence for the existence of a designer. This may be confused science, but it’s not anti-science. Moreover, some intelligent design proponents, like Behe, are tenured professors in science departments at legitimate academic institutions, who publish standard scientific articles in standard scientific journals. It would greatly surprise me if these people were anti-science. Perhaps some intelligent design proponents do argue in a way that is anti-science, butt thoe aren’t the most intellectually respectable proponents of intelligent design. Those aren’t the proponents of intelligent design who should be taken seriously.

Miller makes this strong claim that intelligent design is trying to win a war against science, but unfortunately he provides minimal evidence for this claim. (p. 111)

Having studied the matter himself, Monton concludes,

It’s pretty clear to me, judging from everything I’ve read by Dembski, that he intends the latter, pro-science, reading. I couldn’t fully defend this by giving an example or two; the only way to really defend this claim is to read a lot of Dembski’s work, and (in my opinion, at least) it becomes clear that Dembski is pro-science; he’s just not pro-naturalism, and hence he’s not pro-naturalism-as-a-scientific-methodology. (p. 139)

4 Replies to “Atheist philosopher Bradley Monton rebuts “anti-science” claims re ID, contra Ken Miller

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    This video fits rather nicely;

    John Lennox – Science Is Impossible Without God – Quotes remix video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6287271/

    The take home point from the video, at least for me, is that science was birthed out of the Judeo-Christian worldview, and that the only ‘war on science’ being waged is not being waged by Theists on science but is in fact instead being waged by atheists who refuse to recognize the limits of science, nor the author who makes Science possible in the first place; i.e. God!!!

    notes:

    THE GOD OF THE MATHEMATICIANS – DAVID P. GOLDMAN – August 2010
    Excerpt: we cannot construct an ontology that makes God dispensable. Secularists can dismiss this as a mere exercise within predefined rules of the game of mathematical logic, but that is sour grapes, for it was the secular side that hoped to substitute logic for God in the first place. Gödel’s critique of the continuum hypothesis has the same implication as his incompleteness theorems: Mathematics never will create the sort of closed system that sorts reality into neat boxes.
    http://www.faqs.org/periodical.....27241.html

    This following site is a easy to use, and understand, interactive website that takes the user through what is termed ‘Presuppositional apologetics’. The website clearly shows that our use of the laws of logic, mathematics, science and morality cannot be accounted for unless we believe in a God who guarantees our perceptions and reasoning are trustworthy in the first place.

    Proof That God Exists – easy to use interactive website
    http://www.proofthatgodexists.org/index.php

    Nuclear Strength Apologetics – Presuppositional Apologetics – video
    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....pologetics

    Materialism simply dissolves into absurdity when pushed to extremes and certainly offers no guarantee to us for believing our perceptions and reasoning within science are trustworthy in the first place:

    Dr. Bruce Gordon – The Absurdity Of The Multiverse & Materialism in General – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5318486/

    Can atheists trust their own minds? – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byN38dyZb-k

    “But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?” – Charles Darwin – Letter To William Graham – July 3, 1881

    The Capabilities of Chaos and Complexity: David L. Abel – Null Hypothesis For Information Generation – 2009
    To focus the scientific community’s attention on its own tendencies toward overzealous metaphysical imagination bordering on “wish-fulfillment,” we propose the following readily falsifiable null hypothesis, and invite rigorous experimental attempts to falsify it: “Physicodynamics cannot spontaneously traverse The Cybernetic Cut: physicodynamics alone cannot organize itself into formally functional systems requiring algorithmic optimization, computational halting, and circuit integration.” A single exception of non trivial, unaided spontaneous optimization of formal function by truly natural process would falsify this null hypothesis.
    http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/pdf
    Can We Falsify Any Of The Following Null Hypothesis (For Information Generation)
    1) Mathematical Logic
    2) Algorithmic Optimization
    3) Cybernetic Programming
    4) Computational Halting
    5) Integrated Circuits
    6) Organization (e.g. homeostatic optimization far from equilibrium)
    7) Material Symbol Systems (e.g. genetics)
    8 ) Any Goal Oriented bona fide system
    9) Language
    10) Formal function of any kind
    11) Utilitarian work

    The Law of Physicodynamic Insufficiency – Dr David L. Abel – November 2010
    Excerpt: “If decision-node programming selections are made randomly or by law rather than with purposeful intent, no non-trivial (sophisticated) function will spontaneously arise.”,,, After ten years of continual republication of the null hypothesis with appeals for falsification, no falsification has been provided. The time has come to extend this null hypothesis into a formal scientific prediction: “No non trivial algorithmic/computational utility will ever arise from chance and/or necessity alone.”
    http://www.scitopics.com/The_L.....iency.html

    The GS (genetic selection) Principle – David L. Abel – 2009
    Excerpt: Stunningly, information has been shown not to increase in the coding regions of DNA with evolution. Mutations do not produce increased information. Mira et al (65) showed that the amount of coding in DNA actually decreases with evolution of bacterial genomes, not increases. This paper parallels Petrov’s papers starting with (66) showing a net DNA loss with Drosophila evolution (67). Konopka (68) found strong evidence against the contention of Subba Rao et al (69, 70) that information increases with mutations. The information content of the coding regions in DNA does not tend to increase with evolution as hypothesized. Konopka also found Shannon complexity not to be a suitable indicator of evolutionary progress over a wide range of evolving genes. Konopka’s work applies Shannon theory to known functional text. Kok et al. (71) also found that information does not increase in DNA with evolution. As with Konopka, this finding is in the context of the change in mere Shannon uncertainty. The latter is a far more forgiving definition of information than that required for prescriptive information (PI) (21, 22, 33, 72). It is all the more significant that mutations do not program increased PI. Prescriptive information either instructs or directly produces formal function. No increase in Shannon or Prescriptive information occurs in duplication. What the above papers show is that not even variation of the duplication produces new information, not even Shannon “information.”

    Dr. Don Johnson explains the difference between Shannon Information and Prescriptive Information, as well as explaining ‘the cybernetic cut’, in this following Podcast:

    Programming of Life – Dr. Donald Johnson interviewed by Casey Luskin – audio podcast
    http://www.idthefuture.com/201....._life.html

  2. 2
    Mung says:

    The way intelligent design proponents typically portray their activity is that they are looking for scientific evidence for the existence of a designer.

    Hopefully Prof. Monton realizes that designers come into and go out of existence, and the past existence but present non-existence of “the designer” is compatible with the claims of intelligent design.

    It follows that ID is not a search “for scientific evidence for the existence of a designer.”

    The existence of designers is a given. What is at question is whether what we know about designers can be used in making inferences about whether some entity or event displays evidence of design.

    It has nothing to do with looking for evidence of the existence of the designer.

  3. 3
    Ilion says:

    Mung, thanks for #2.

    Even though I’m not an IDist, it does annoy me to see ID misrepresented.

  4. 4
    Mung says:

    I did enjoy his book. He made many very good points.

    I just do not think he put forth the best reprensetation of ID (though far fairer than most).

    I think it was his responsibility to be as accurate as possible about ID and it’s claims and put forth it’s best case, and I think he failed in that regard.

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