Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Is a materialistic approach to teaching the origin of life inherently atheistic and therefore religious?

Share
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Flipboard
Print
Email

[There’s] a new 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that approaches the issue of teaching origin-of-life theories in public schools from a new angle . . .

Few are aware that the courts have ruled atheism is a religion for the purposes of the First Amendment in 2005 and thought about its implications on the teaching of origin-of-life theories in public schools. In brief, evolution becomes both a religious and scientifc theory (using the court’s definition of scientific theory), and abiogenesis becomes purely a religious theory. That being the case, these atheist origin-of-life theories should be treated the same as any other origin-of-life theory. Anything less is unconstitutional. Visit the website at http://originoflifefairness.org for much more information and the links/facts to back it up.

The mainstream media wants to keep this knowledge quiet. If you agree the public needs to know about this issue, your help would be greatly appreciated telling the public about this website. . . .

Sincerely,
Randel Huey
CEO/Founder “Origin of Life Fairness in Public Schools, Inc.”
Jacksonville, Florida

Comments
[...] Is a materialistic approach to teaching the origin of life inherently atheistic and therefore religi... [...]The Origin Of Life
November 9, 2010
November
11
Nov
9
09
2010
06:08 PM
6
06
08
PM
PST
OK seeing that natural causes only exist in nature, natural causes cannot account for the origin of nature. That is why the debate is NOT "super" natural vs. natural but guided, intentional processes vs. unplanned, unguided processes. Even though the anti-ID position tries to claim immunity from intial causation that alone does not excuse them from the inevitable-> that all scenarios "turtle down" to something beyond nature. Christians have their trinity and materialists have theirs- Father Time, Mother Nature and the blind watchmaker. And it is obvious that people place a lot of faith in the latter trinity. But that is to be expected. Any framework that relies so heavily on "sheer-dumb-luck" (which is what makes up the anti-ID position) requires more faith than most (if not all) common religions.Joseph
September 3, 2006
September
09
Sep
3
03
2006
10:50 AM
10
10
50
AM
PST
avocationist: "I am an ID advocate, but for the life of me I just can’t grasp the concept of supernatural." No need to, except that whatever a supernature might be, our nature/universe is dependent on it, and not vice versa. Supernature and nature are part of a single system, but with a unidirectional dependency and causality. Consider a virtual world within a computer where the programmer sets up algorithmic "laws." Assume this virtual world is sophisticated enough to have virtual scientists within in, musing about their environment. The virtual scientists could conceivable detect what the "laws" were that operated normally witin their virtual world. But what happens if I, the programmer/designer on the "outside", decide to tweak some events within the virtual world? No theory or law could ever be devised by the virtual scientists for my actions, since they are based on no internal laws within the system. To the inside, my outside actions are completely arbitrary and "miraculous." (Moreover, the virtual scientists would be forever arguing over how life exists, whether the laws of their virtual world came from, and whether or not it was "religious", and therefore banned from public life, to acknowledge my possible existence. :) ) This is my view. Some posit a platonic like world that "transcends" spacetime, and I think this is the supernatural you may have had in mind. But, like you apparently do, think that's a pretty meaningless idea. But one can have a notion of supernatural if one takes it as simple a dependency issue, as the virtual computer world analogy suggests.mike1962
September 3, 2006
September
09
Sep
3
03
2006
10:30 AM
10
10
30
AM
PST
mike1962: “NDE does not rise to the level of, say, gravity, or quantum mechanics, which have loads of empirical evidence that can be reproduced by anyone regardless of their philosophy.” Tom English: "You are looking less and less like a scientist. Gravity? That is precisely what physicists have never managed to work into the standard model." I'm talking about what's taught in schools as essentially fact, Tom. Things like gravity being related to mass, and General Relativity. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravity.) Anyone, regardless of philosophical presupposition can verify these things, Tom. Tom English: "And thus they have resorted to string theory." Say what? Some physicists are certainly playing with string theory, although there are notable exception, such as Roger Penrose (no slouch), who think it's the wrong direction. But you miss the point entirely, Tom. String theory, which so far being utterly unverified empirically, is not taught to children as fact. "Do you really think there is more empirical evidence for string-theoretic accounts of gravity than for neo-Darwinian evolution?" String theory has no empircal evidence thus far. NDE has no empircal evidence that leads to the conclusion that it is alone responsible for the complexity and variety of life on this planet. Tom English: "String theory isn’t testable." You don't seem to be keeping up with the forefront, Tom. These guys want to test it: See http://www.physorg.com/news10295.html Tom English: "Even if we leave string theory out of the picture, gravity is not well understood." Depends on what you mean by "well." There are a lot of things about it that are well understood. And the point is, what is taught about it to school kids is verifiable by anyone regardless of their commitment to methodological materialism. Tom English: "But you will accuse me again of responding to what you write instead of what you think I should know you meant to write, so I’ll observe also that it is inappropriate to compare the empirical support for neo-Darwinian theory to that of quantum mechanics." There is no eimpircal suppose for NDE for the claim that it alone is responsible for all the complexity and veriety of life on this planet. Only someone with a commitment to methodological materialism would conclude that. How could they not? But that conclusion is merely a presumption masquerading as a conclusion. Tom English: "The reason is that the study of past life forms on earth is an historical science. The appropriate comparisons are to, say, geology and astrophysics. Do you think neo-Darwinism has less supporting evidence than continental drift? than Big Bang / expansion model? mike1962: “You, and the 70% of NAS, can hold onto a materialistic philosophy all you want” Tom English: "The correct figure is 72% and it is the percentage of self-identifying atheists in the National Academy of Sciences. According to the Wiki article on atheism, “Although some atheists tend toward skepticism, and toward secular philosophies such as humanism, naturalism and materialism, there is no single system of philosophy which all atheists share…” Well, Tom, they share one thing: atheism! :) They reject any notion of an intelligent designer involved in the development of life on this planet. And any "conclusions" based on evidence will necessarily yield an anti-ID result. This should be obvious, Tom. (I don't care, one way or the other what they think, Tom. But I do care about what's taught to school kids as fact.) Tom English: "The NAS has a membership of about 2,000. That is a tiny fraction of the number of scientists in the U.S. In a survey of American professors last year, the greatest level of disbelief in God was among physicists and biologists — 41%, which is of course much lower than the level in the NAS. See http://www.washtimes.com/national/20050814-115521-9143r.htm" That's good to know, Tom. Thanks. Tom English: "You have no basis for calling me a materialist, and in fact I am not one. I am a follower of Jesus who adopts methodological naturalism out of pragmatism..." "Pragmatism" : 1. Philosophy A movement consisting of varying but associated theories, originally developed by Charles S. Peirce and William James and distinguished by the doctrine that the meaning of an idea or a proposition lies in its observable practical consequences. 2. A practical, matter-of-fact way of approaching or assessing situations or of solving problems. So then, Tom, how is your "scientific" approach to life on this planet "pragamatic?" I consider myself pragmatic. As I understand it, pragmatism is essentially linked to practical results. If something works, adopt it. The more you can understand why it works, better still. However, NDE makes claims that are are unveriafiable. Such claims do not "work" in any practical sense. They yield not practical effects. To take the position that all the evidence points to life being the produce of a blind process is not a pragmatic conclusion with practical results. It is merely a restating of the premise, which is a commitment to materialism. If you start out with materialism and do not allow intelligence to be smuggled in along the way, *of course* the "conclusion" will always have to be that a blind process is the source of life. How this is "pragmatic" I cannot guess. Tom English: "(it has a history of working well) while doing science." Certainly, in the hard sciences. If something works, why then, it works. That's the kind of science I can live with. But one need not commit to a methodological materialism for the stuff that "works well." Tom English: "That has no impact on my life otherwise. In my opinion, only a fool would try to get TRUTH from science, even if methodological naturalism were dropped." As for your commitment to Jesus, this is a sidebar question, but I've always been puzzled by people like. Are you telling me you don't accept the claims of NDE regarding evolution being "blind", but only accept it as the best that materialist science can do? Or do you actually believe the claims of NDE about evolution being blind and try to harmonize that with your beliefs about Jesus creating the world? Tom: “You can disagree all you want, but to make a difference in science you are going to have to persuade.” Mike: “If [NDE] was in the same league as the hard empirical sciences, you wouldn’t need to persuade.” Tom English: "Teaching is a form of persuasion. If teachers and professors were not highly successful in persuading students of the scientific validity of neo-Darwinian theory, this blog would not exist." Most public school students are not well trained in logic and philosophy, Tom. Do you really expect most of them to see any logical gaps or evidentiary holes in some presentation made by a teacher whom they are taught to respect? I think it can be demonstrated quite well from history that the reason for NDE's hold over biology is because of philosophical and political reasons. But I'm not going to do that now. Tom English: "Neo-Darwinism is the unifying framework of contemporary biology. It is a scientific paradigm. If you have never read Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, you should at least read the Wiki article on it." Tom English: "You IDists, " I'm not an IDist. I am merely ID friendly. Tom English: "...as the challengers to the established paradigm, are definitely the ones who have to persuade other scientists." I, personally, am not interested in persuading other scientists that ID is valid, only that some of the claims made my NDE are unproven. And I'm interested in persuading those who hold positions of power over education of this fact. Tom English: "The so-called hard sciences are no less “materialistic” than biology." Correct, but they make no untestable claims. And "hard" means "empirical", Tom. No reason to use "so-called" for that. Empirical is empircal. NDE just isn't a member of that club. Tom English: "Why do you condone materialism in them but not biology?" One need not commit one's self to a methodological materialism to test the claims of physicists when they tell us that gravity and space are affected by mass. One can be a raving fundamentalist baptist and empirically verify such claims. One cannot be a raving fundamentalist baptist and conclude "pragmatically" that life on this planet is the result of blind events. Tom English: "Are you bringing to the table an unstated commitment to some religion or philosophy that says life is inherently different from the rest of nature?" Nope. I'm bringing to the table a commitment to empiricism. All positive claims must be verifiable. mike1962: "Maybe you don’t care to convince us. That’s fine. But folks like me are rather tired of the political and educational fall out from an ideology such as NDE. And we vote. You are right to be nervous about it, if you make you living by supporting such an ideology.” Tom English: "You indeed worry me more than anyone else I have encountered at UD. You know less science than most. You do not reason as well as most. You do not write as well as most. You slur when you’re frustrated." Thanks, Tom. :) Tom English: "And you evidently believe that the American Way is for a majority that disagrees with an intellectual enterprise to use its power to squelch that enterprise." That power exists and is exercised by anti-ID zealots constantly. You just happen to be on the majority (for now) side. Time will tell if it will maintain that position.mike1962
September 3, 2006
September
09
Sep
3
03
2006
07:23 AM
7
07
23
AM
PST
DaveScot, I suspect that you overestimate how much students actually absorb from school, for one thing. Teenagers are not known for their scholastic dilligence. For another, evolution is not a big component of public school education, from my limited experience. (Not that n=1 allows any substantial conclusions one way or the other.) From what I've seen in my own experience, and from what I've heard about others, most public school science teachers have decided that the best way to avoid offending the delicate sensibilities of their students and their students' parents is to say as little as possible about "the e-word." And I never learned anything about abiogenesis through public school, either -- it simply wasn't brought up. I didn't receive any significant formal training in evolutionary theory until college. And a final note: even if people say that they accept evolution, that doesn't mean that they understand it. I'd be willing to bet that if you took ten average people off the street and asked them if they accepted evolution, most of them would say yes -- but if you then asked them to explain the theory, you'd get a half-dozen (at least) different responses, all of them incomplete and probably quite a few that are wrong.Carlos
September 2, 2006
September
09
Sep
2
02
2006
12:17 PM
12
12
17
PM
PST
Tom English Most people? Would that include the three in ten Americans who do not graduate from high school? How about the rapidly increasing fraction of those who graduate but cannot demonstrate rudimentary science knowledge in testing? High school attendence is mandatory through 10th grade biology which includes sophomore biology. Nice try. Many of those people you mention accept evolution too. Chance worship increases with years of formal education with no stark cutoffs as you seem to be implying. That's to be expected. A longer period of indoctrination into the dogma means more success at it. Can you spell "peer pressure"? I knew you could.DaveScot
September 2, 2006
September
09
Sep
2
02
2006
11:31 AM
11
11
31
AM
PST
DaveScot, "Most people can see right away it’s a narrative not a theory." Most people? Would that include the three in ten Americans who do not graduate from high school? How about the rapidly increasing fraction of those who graduate but cannot demonstrate rudimentary science knowledge in testing? Years ago, I heard about a little boy whose dog had a litter of puppies. One day, the boy asked his mother if he could take a puppy to school for show-and-tell. She agreed, and carried a pup to his classroom later that day. After the boy had made his presentation, a hand went up. "Yes?" the teacher said. "Is it a boy puppy or a girl puppy?" The little boy did not know. "Does anybody know how to tell?" the teacher asked. A silence fell over the room. Then another hand went up. "Yes?" the teacher said. "We could vote!"Tom English
September 2, 2006
September
09
Sep
2
02
2006
10:26 AM
10
10
26
AM
PST
Re: 92. So European children are more gullible than American children? Re: reductionism. There are many different flavors, but the basic stance is that reduction is successful when all talk about As (for any entity) can be entirely translated into talk about Bs. Then A-talk (i.e. biology) has been reduced to B-talk (i.e. physics). So far, reductionism has been exceedingly difficult -- if not impossible -- to successfully implement. That's why reductionism is not highly regarded among biologists or philosophers. In any event, reductionism should be contrasted with holism or with some version of emergentism. Holism and/or emergentism might be compatible with materialism. One could think that new properties and principles, irreducible to atomic and molecular events, emerge over time without thinking that non-material entities need be posited in order to explain those properties. Like I keep on saying, there are a lot of options besides materialism/atheism on the one hand and intelligent design on the other.Carlos
September 2, 2006
September
09
Sep
2
02
2006
10:00 AM
10
10
00
AM
PST
Tom English Actually I've said on more than one occasion that for every American who doesn't buy the Darwinian evolutionary narrative there is a science teacher who failed him. But I don't really blame science teachers. I blame the fairy tales they try to peddle as science when it comes to evolution. Most people can see right away it's a narrative not a theory. Still, a good salesman should be able to BS his way through it and indeed they do with the other, less discerning half of the classroom.DaveScot
September 2, 2006
September
09
Sep
2
02
2006
01:43 AM
1
01
43
AM
PST
avocationist: "Perhaps it is useful to speak of natural causes to mean only matter and energy and their interactions, but that pretty much excludes living things." For now, the vast majority of biologists assume that life is reducible to matter, energy, and their interactions, though many (most?) oppose reductionism. I'm not a biologist, so I don't feel comfortable saying much beyond that.Tom English
September 2, 2006
September
09
Sep
2
02
2006
12:21 AM
12
12
21
AM
PST
P.S. "If teachers and professors were not highly successful in persuading students of the scientific validity of neo-Darwinian theory, this blog would not exist." I know that teachers are actually not very persuasive at all, with half of American adults believing that God created humans in more or less their present form, and with nearly another third believing that God directed evolution. But you IDists say over and over how effective those teachers are in indoctrinating the poor little students.Tom English
September 1, 2006
September
09
Sep
1
01
2006
11:51 PM
11
11
51
PM
PST
mike1962: "NDE does not rise to the level of, say, gravity, or quantum mechanics, which have loads of empirical evidence that can be reproduced by anyone regardless of their philosophy." You are looking less and less like a scientist. Gravity? That is precisely what physicists have never managed to work into the standard model. And thus they have resorted to string theory. Do you really think there is more empirical evidence for string-theoretic accounts of gravity than for neo-Darwinian evolution? String theory isn't testable. Even if we leave string theory out of the picture, gravity is not well understood. But you will accuse me again of responding to what you write instead of what you think I should know you meant to write, so I'll observe also that it is inappropriate to compare the empirical support for neo-Darwinian theory to that of quantum mechanics. The reason is that the study of past life forms on earth is an historical science. The appropriate comparisons are to, say, geology and astrophysics. Do you think neo-Darwinism has less supporting evidence than continental drift? than Big Bang / expansion model? "You, and the 70% of NAS, can hold onto a materialistic philosophy all you want" The correct figure is 72%, and it is the percentage of self-identifying atheists in the National Academy of Sciences. According to the Wiki article on atheism, "Although some atheists tend toward skepticism, and toward secular philosophies such as humanism, naturalism and materialism, there is no single system of philosophy which all atheists share..." Do you recall that when Bill Dembski was involved in the Dover trial, he pointed out to the judge that the plaintiffs' experts were secular humanists (definitely not materialists)? Golly, gee. The NAS has a membership of about 2,000. That is a tiny fraction of the number of scientists in the U.S. In a survey of American professors last year, the greatest level of disbelief in God was among physicists and biologists -- 41%, which is of course much lower than the level in the NAS. See http://www.washtimes.com/national/20050814-115521-9143r.htm You have no basis for calling me a materialist, and in fact I am not one. I am a follower of Jesus who adopts methodological naturalism out of pragmatism (it has a history of working well) while doing science. That has no impact on my life otherwise. In my opinion, only a fool would try to get TRUTH from science, even if methodological naturalism were dropped. Tom: “You can disagree all you want, but to make a difference in science you are going to have to persuade.” Mike: "If [NDE] was in the same league as the hard empirical sciences, you wouldn’t need to persuade." Teaching is a form of persuasion. If teachers and professors were not highly successful in persuading students of the scientific validity of neo-Darwinian theory, this blog would not exist. Neo-Darwinism is the unifying framework of contemporary biology. It is a scientific paradigm. If you have never read Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, you should at least read the Wiki article on it. You IDists, as the challengers to the established paradigm, are definitely the ones who have to persuade other scientists. The so-called hard sciences are no less "materialistic" than biology. Why do you condone materialism in them but not biology? Are you bringing to the table an unstated commitment to some religion or philosophy that says life is inherently different from the rest of nature? "Maybe you don’t care to convince us. That’s fine. But folks like me are rather tired of the political and educational fall out from an ideology such as NDE. And we vote. You are right to be nervous about it, if you make you living by supporting such an ideology." You indeed worry me more than anyone else I have encountered at UD. You know less science than most. You do not reason as well as most. You do not write as well as most. You slur when you're frustrated. And you evidently believe that the American Way is for a majority that disagrees with an intellectual enterprise to use its power to squelch that enterprise. Did you know that "the people" used political power in another country to suppress genetics? Opposition to genetics was called Lysenkoism, and it was instituted in the Soviet Union. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LysenkoismTom English
September 1, 2006
September
09
Sep
1
01
2006
11:38 PM
11
11
38
PM
PST
Tom, --"The car and the nest are natural. Their causes are non-natural, to use Bill Dembski’s old parlance. But “non-natural” is synonymous with “supernatural” (first sense). As I intimated above, philosophers debate whether science should embrace supernaturalism (allowing natural phenomena to be explained by causes outside of nature). If you are an ID advocate, supernaturalism is your friend, even if it sounds odd to you" Perhaps it is useful to speak of natural causes to mean only matter and energy and their interactions, but that pretty much excludes living things. Unless, by 'matter and energy,'living things are included? Alright, so nonliving forces cannot do what living beings can do. We manufacture cars but we are not outside nature. God creates a Universe - why the accusation of supernaturalism? I am an ID advocate, but for the life of me I just can't grasp the concept of supernatural. For example, I am quite sure telepathic communication is possible, and that we don't know how it works, but that there IS an mechanism and a medium, absolutely is required.avocationist
September 1, 2006
September
09
Sep
1
01
2006
09:46 PM
9
09
46
PM
PST
Mike 1962 said "If NDE was in the same league as the hard empirical sciences, you wouldn’t need to persuade. It would be obvious to all rational people, like relativity, gravity, and QM." Enile Zuckerandl does not agree. He thinks it is the theory of relativvity that needs further confirmation! “Intelligent design and biological complexity” Gene 2006 Emile Zuckerandl "Evolution as a theory", reduces science to incertitude, and, evolution as an "ism", reduces it in practice to an unscientific belief. Use of the word "Theory" seems to be in keeping with the “theory of relativity”, since the theory of relativity indeed, seems to continue to be on the look-out for further confirmation. For many decades, now – and this is worth pondering -- no biologist in his right mind has been out to confirm the existence of biological evolution, given the overwhelming amount of evidence, and of kinds of evidence, in its favor. Biological evolution as a process is now too certain for being considered a theory." He wrote over 60 pages reviling ID in the "peer reviewed" "scientific" journal Gene. His sentence structures and logic streams are often extremely complicated, yet he says that "It is simplicity that is, much of the time, a hallmark of actual intelligent design."idnet.com.au
September 1, 2006
September
09
Sep
1
01
2006
07:01 PM
7
07
01
PM
PST
Tom English: "You suggested above that you were a scientist, but now I have trouble believing you. You should know that there is no TRUE scientific explanation." You can play games if you want. But I think you know what I mean. NDE does not rise to the level of, say, gravity, or quantum mechanics, which have loads of empirical evidence that can be reproduced by anyone regardless of their philosophy. NDE is not "science" in this regard. It begins with a particular philsophical position, and forces any putative evidence into that mold. There is simply no good reason to folks like me to adopt such an irrational position. Tom English: "You can disagree all you want, but to make a difference in science you are going to have to persuade." You, and the 70% of NAS, can hold onto a materialistic philosophy all you want, and but to make a difference in minds of those who have no commitment to materialistic philosophy, you are going to have to demonstrate that NDE can deliver what you imagine it can. If it was in the same league as the hard empirical sciences, you wouldn't need to persuade. It would be obvious to all rational people, like relativity, gravity, and QM. Maybe you don't care to convince us. That's fine. But folks like me are rather tired of the political and educational fall out from an ideology such as NDE. And we vote. You are right to be nervous about it, if you make you living by supporting such an ideology.mike1962
September 1, 2006
September
09
Sep
1
01
2006
06:06 PM
6
06
06
PM
PST
26. "You guys are only proving Judge Jones correct the more you talk about evolution as if it’s a religious debate. We all know the religious desires of the I.D. movement, but it’s definitely become way more clear over the past few months." Consider these quotes "A direct implication of intelligent design, is that it could only have been carried out by a God. The claim may be made that evolution is a necessary condition for being, so that nonevolved beings are intrinsically impossible. It may be a truth too fundamental for having as yet been discovered. God is not possible. Biology makes this abundantly clear, life can only result from a history -- no God can be almighty. God brought evil-doing into the world when he devised animals that feed on other animals. The horrific pain that living beings inflict upon other living beings is part of a world created by a “good” God? Good God! Why would God tinker? Doesn’t He know in advance the biological pathways that work? Isn’t a tinkering God one who loudly says “I am not”? And why would He say so if He existed? The process is mostly one of progressive reduction of an all encompassing territory that religions had confiscated in bulk, no doubt at the dawn of human time, with each of the thousands of different religions, claiming for itself, absolute and eternal truth - a claim whose implication for the truth of any particular faith, is a prime target of Freudian repression, in contemporary believers. In the course of its advances, science does uncover new territory that religions can then undertake to invade." Quotes from "Intelligent design and biological complexity" Gene 2006 Emile Zuckerandl Emile makes it abundantly clear that for him personally, as the father of molecular evolutionary biology, the debate is religious to the core. Not only the pro ID side, but also the anti ID side. With 93% of the most prominent NAS scientists said to be atheist or agnostic, they have a lot of religious ground to defend, and plenty of power to ensure that only one side is heard.idnet.com.au
September 1, 2006
September
09
Sep
1
01
2006
05:48 PM
5
05
48
PM
PST
Tom: “ID is utterly inadmissible in contemporary science because of science’s philosophical commitment to methodological naturalism.” mike1962: "You should insert the word 'arbitrary' in front of 'philosophical commitment.'" Science may eventually readmit supernaturalism, but its exclusion is hardly arbitrary. Been there, done that. See http://www.leaderu.com/offices/koons/docs/Schafersman.html Mike: "Anyway, the majority of scientists are commited to a materialist view, but not all are." I believe I always say "almost all scientists," "mainstream science," or the like. MIke: "For those of us with no a priori commitment to methodological naturalism, please forgive us if we disagree with the conclusions of the majority especially when they have no empirical support." You can disagree all you want, but to make a difference in science you are going to have to persuade. "It’s funny that the entire foundation of the rational science began because scientists believed in natural law. And they believed in natural law because they believed in a Lawgiver." It's funny that the United States was founded a republic in which the power to make decisions (e.g., vote) was vested in the elite (white male landowners). And the Founders believed, having studied Plato, that democracy would lead to chaos. "The problem is, while it may be the best materialistic theory we have, it has not been demonstrated to be true." You suggested above that you were a scientist, but now I have trouble believing you. You should know that there is no TRUE scientific explanation. All scientific explanations are tentative. In fact, it is hard to find a scientific explanation that has not been revised or replaced. How could neo-Darwinism possibly be shown true? If you look for truth in science, you are in the same boat as the most pathetic of atheists.Tom English
September 1, 2006
September
09
Sep
1
01
2006
03:51 PM
3
03
51
PM
PST
Tom: “ID is utterly inadmissible in contemporary science because of science’s philosophical commitment to methodological naturalism.” mike1962: "You should insert the word 'arbitrary' in front of 'philosophical commitment.'" Science may eventually readmit supernaturalism, but its exclusion is hardly arbitrary. Been there, done that: "The origin and functioning of the universe, solar system, Earth, plant and animal species, and humans were routinely ascribed to supernatural processes by legitimate scientists well into the nineteenth century, as the histories of catastrophism and creationism clearly reveal. Following the examples of Galileo and Newton, however, scientists such as Laplace, Hutton, Lyell, Darwin, and Huxley slowly and sequentially attempted to explain the origin and functioning of these real objects and beings solely by natural explanations. Naturalism as a necessary part of science thus developed gradually as science developed gradually with the practice and understanding of scientists; appreciation of the hypothetico-deductive method and empirical testing of hypotheses requires naturalism, since supernatural claims cannot be tested. Holdout scientists who persisted in supernatural explanations were gradually abandoned intellectually by their students and colleagues, and they eventually died with no successors. There was never a single moment or event when supernaturalism was evicted from the structure of science and naturalism locked in. However, by the twentieth century, supernaturalism had been methodologically eliminated and science came to be identified with naturalism; the philosophy of naturalism then became formalized in the 1930s and 1940s, chiefly in the United States." From http://www.leaderu.com/offices/koons/docs/Schafersman.html Mike: "Anyway, the majority of scientists are commited to a materialist view, but not all are." I believe I always say "almost all scientists," "mainstream science," or the like. MIke: "For those of us with no a priori commitment to methodological naturalism, please forgive us if we disagree with the conclusions of the majority especially when they have no empirical support." You can disagree all you want, but to make a difference in science you are going to have to persuade. "It’s funny that the entire foundation of the rational science began because scientists believed in natural law. And they believed in natural law because they believed in a Lawgiver." It's funny that the United States was founded a republic in which the power to make decisions (e.g., vote) was vested in the elite (white male landowners). And the Founders believed, having studied Plato, that democracy would lead to chaos. "The problem is, while it may be the best materialistic theory we have, it has not been demonstrated to be true." You suggested above that you were a scientist, but now I have trouble believing you. You should know that there is no TRUE scientific explanation. All scientific explanations are tentative. In fact, it is hard to find a scientific explanation that has not been revised or replaced. How could neo-Darwinism possibly be shown true? If you look for truth in science, you are in the same boat as the most pathetic of atheists.Tom English
September 1, 2006
September
09
Sep
1
01
2006
03:44 PM
3
03
44
PM
PST
Tom English: “ID is utterly inadmissible in contemporary science because of science’s philosophical commitment to methodological naturalism.” mike1962: "You should insert the word 'arbitrary' in front of 'philosophical commitment.'" Hardly. Regarding supernaturalism, science has "been there, done that." "The origin and functioning of the universe, solar system, Earth, plant and animal species, and humans were routinely ascribed to supernatural processes by legitimate scientists well into the nineteenth century, as the histories of catastrophism and creationism clearly reveal. Following the examples of Galileo and Newton, however, scientists such as Laplace, Hutton, Lyell, Darwin, and Huxley slowly and sequentially attempted to explain the origin and functioning of these real objects and beings solely by natural explanations. Naturalism as a necessary part of science thus developed gradually as science developed gradually with the practice and understanding of scientists; appreciation of the hypothetico-deductive method and empirical testing of hypotheses requires naturalism, since supernatural claims cannot be tested. Holdout scientists who persisted in supernatural explanations were gradually abandoned intellectually by their students and colleagues, and they eventually died with no successors. There was never a single moment or event when supernaturalism was evicted from the structure of science and naturalism locked in. However, by the twentieth century, supernaturalism had been methodologically eliminated and science came to be identified with naturalism; the philosophy of naturalism then became formalized in the 1930s and 1940s, chiefly in the United States." From http://www.leaderu.com/offices/koons/docs/Schafersman.html Mike: "Anyway, the majority of scientists are commited to a materialist view, but not all are." If you read my writing closely, you will find that I always say "almost all scientists," "mainstream science," or the like. MIke: "For those of us with no a priori commitment to methodological naturalism, please forgive us if we disagree with the conclusions of the majority especially when they have no empirical support." You can disagree all you want, but to make a difference you are going to have to persuade. "It’s funny that the entire foundation of the rational science began because scientists believed in natural law. And they believed in natural law because they believed in a Lawgiver." It's funny that the United States was founded a republic in which the power to make decisions (e.g., vote) was vested in the elite (white male landowners). And the Founders believed, having studied Plato, that democracy would lead to chaos. I'm glad things change, aren't you? "The problem is, while it may be the best materialistic theory we have, it has not been demonstrated to be true." Anyone who believes that science gets at truth is in the same boat as the most pathetic of atheists.Tom English
September 1, 2006
September
09
Sep
1
01
2006
03:25 PM
3
03
25
PM
PST
Mike1962, You said "there is nothing necessarily “religious” about any of this. I don’t care for the word, since it muddies the waters, and serves no purpose except to muddy the waters for those with agendas. That there may be a creator or creators is not necessarily a religious notion, in my book. I think it’s the *trappings* of religion that irk certain people. (Myself included.)" I couldn't agree more and pointed out above that even if you believe there is a creator this does not necessarily make you religious. A lot of people in history believed there was a god or gods who created everything but that he/they then left everything alone to play itself out. Essentially this creator had no expectations of his creation nor did these people think that he did. So these are people who believe in a creator but are not religious in the sense that there is some expectations on either side or any relationship between them. Such a scenario is completely compatible with ID and not religious by any definition I know.jerry
September 1, 2006
September
09
Sep
1
01
2006
03:18 PM
3
03
18
PM
PST
Only recently did he start saying that intelligence is non-material. For almost all scientists, this also means non-natural.
Non-material is a statement that is echoed by Wigner, Tipler and others. It proceeds from deductions in Quantum Theory. To be fair it coincides with non-materialist philosophy, but can independently be derived by physical law combined with a proof by contradiction. The Dualism was described in this senior level college physics class: Philosophy of Physics The words natural and super-natural have somewhat philsophical connotations. The don't really have strong formal definitions in scientific theory, and until they do, it's metaphysics masquarading as science. Salvadorscordova
September 1, 2006
September
09
Sep
1
01
2006
02:19 PM
2
02
19
PM
PST
Alan Fox: "This is the crux of the matter. By definition no scientific evidence for the supernatural exists, because whatever science can detect, observe or measure is not supernatural." As one who is "supernatural" friendly, I would have to disagree here somewhat. The crux of supernature is that it is not dependent on nature, however supernature would be responsibe for, and may impinge on, nature. A good analogy is a virtual world within a computer. Normally the virtual world operates according to the programmed "laws", but I (as the programmer on the "outside") may tweak the program and it's interal states at will for my own (perhaps inscutable) purposes. And I may do it in such a way that sometimes the virtual citizens may sense what I'm doing. What the virtual citizens would not be able to do is "scientifically" reproduce my actions such as to deduce a "law" since no law was involved in my action. A putative supernature and nature are part of an overall system, but nature is dependent on supernature, and not vice versa. Sidebar: there is nothing necessarily "religious" about any of this. I don't care for the word, since it muddies the waters, and serves no purpose except to muddy the waters for those with agendas. That there may be a creator or creators is not necessarily a religious notion, in my book. I think it's the *trappings* of religion that irk certain people. (Myself included.)mike1962
September 1, 2006
September
09
Sep
1
01
2006
02:15 PM
2
02
15
PM
PST
Tom English: "ID is utterly inadmissible in contemporary science because of science’s philosophical commitment to methodological naturalism." You should insert the word "arbitrary" in front of "philosophical commitment." Anyway, the majority of scientists are commited to a materialist view, but not all are. For those of us with no a priori commitment to methodological naturalism, please forgive us if we disagree with the conclusions of the majority especially when they have no empirical support. It's funny that the entire foundation of the rational science began because scientists believed in natural law. And they believed in natural law because they believed in a Lawgiver. At any rate, the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis, seems to be the best that those committed to an anti-ID position can come up with, and they expect the rest of us to accept it based on the idea that "it's the best theory we have", etc. And they expect us to lie back, and let school kids get endoctrinated with it. The problem is, while it may be the best materialistic theory we have, it has not been demonstrated to be true.mike1962
September 1, 2006
September
09
Sep
1
01
2006
02:04 PM
2
02
04
PM
PST
curtrozeboom: "In the case of evolution of ancient biological structures, we have no evidence of intelligent agents being present... If you are unwilling or unable to accept evolution as a possible design process, then you are simply left with an unsolved mystery for which more evidence needs to be unearthed." The existence of the first biological structure is a mystery in any case. There is no naturalistic theory of the origin of life. As for "ancient biological structures" in general, it is hardly less mysterious. For NDE to be shown to be a viable explanation, we need to know about that first lifeform, how it works and what it's capable of. NDE is not a complete theory. It needs a preexisting lifeform with a particular nature that is capable of being modified and developed along the lines of what NDE specifies. If that lifeform never existed, then NDE is dead in the water. Merely assuming that such a biological lifeform existed will not do. "In the case of evolution of ancient biological structures, we have no evidence of intelligent agents being present..." We have no evidence for a lifeform with the nature required by NDE either. "If you are unwilling or unable to accept evolution as a possible design process, then you are simply left with an unsolved mystery for which more evidence needs to be unearthed." If you ware unwilling or unable to accept a possible designer, then you are simply left with an unsolved mystery for which more evidence needs to be unearthed. Since when has the origin of life been solved by anyone scientifically?mike1962
September 1, 2006
September
09
Sep
1
01
2006
01:41 PM
1
01
41
PM
PST
curtrozeboom: "The structures themselves can not count as that evidence, you need to produce an independent line of evidence that corroborates with the ability to manipulate these structures." What if the structures were buildings made of huge stones, cut and fitted with high precision, like, say the Great Pyramid? And included within the design, at sorts of information about the layout of the solar system (like the Great Pyramid has)? What would the aliens be likely to conclude then, no matter what the nature of the aliens is, and how close or not to humans they are? What is the precise method you or the aliens would use to detect design in this case? What makes a thing obviously designed?mike1962
September 1, 2006
September
09
Sep
1
01
2006
01:24 PM
1
01
24
PM
PST
DaveScot, "I’ve always wondered how Darwin apologists hold out in one hand a narrative that claims humans evolved naturally and in the other hand hold a story that says human-made objects are not natural. This seems to be contradictory." Indeed it merely seems to be contradictory. You are equivocating on "natural." Human-made objects are artificial, which is the opposite of natural in one of its senses. Almost all scientists consider everything to be natural, in another sense. You will find many apparent contradictions in language that turn out not to be real when you take context into account. "Either humans are a natural part of nature (so to speak) and thus intelligent designers are a natural part of nature (since we are intelligent designers) or else they are supernatural. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Is intelligent agency a natural thing or not? I’m of the opinion that we are a natural thing in the universe and hence intelligent agency is not unnatural." Dave, I am going to use the meaning of "natural" associated with methodological naturalism by the scientific community. That is, nature is comprised of matter, energy, and their interactions. If you do not adopt this meaning of "natural," then what the community of philosophers has to say about the supernatural, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supernatural, and its relationship to the natural make no sense to you. I suppose you do not understand that part of why Steve Fuller testified for the defendants in the Dover trial was that he advocates supernaturalism in science. There may be aspects of humans that are natural, and aspects that are supernatural. In Bill Dembski's design inference, intelligence is a non-natural source of information. Only recently did he start saying that intelligence is non-material. For almost all scientists, this also means non-natural. I have been interested in the possibility that ID advocates MIGHT over time lead science to acknowledge an open universe -- one with entities we know exist, but that are beyond the grasp of science, at present if not forever. ID used to be more than anti-evolution political action, you know.Tom English
September 1, 2006
September
09
Sep
1
01
2006
12:37 PM
12
12
37
PM
PST
Sladjo: "Natural or un-natural, the car and the nest have been DESIGNED by intelligent beings and they have a very well established PURPOSE, they are not a result of undirected, unguided processes." That design and intelligence are useful scientific constructs is merely an ID claim at this point. It will take a great deal of scientific work to persuade the scientific community that such is the case. What you say in plain (and therefore ambiguous) language may seem just as obvious to you as that fact that Newton's laws are laws but... Oh, gee, they are not laws, and something much more difficult to grasp, relativity, is a better understanding of how nature works. From the perspective of a scientist, you are rash in making such strong claims. "Supernatural doesn’t necessarily have to be unscientific, it may be something we cannot yet explain by (our present) science laws. It doesn’t mean that tomorrow we aren’t be able to find a scientific answer." Agreed. Read the first paragraph or two of the Wiki article on "supernatural." "The only (philosophical) question is if we’ll ever be able to define/describe/locate the DESIGNER using our scientific knowledge…" No. ID is utterly inadmissible in contemporary science because of science's philosophical commitment to methodological naturalism. If you want to talk about design by an intelligence that transcends matter, energy, and their interactions, then the philosophers pushing for supernaturalism to be admitted to science are your friends.Tom English
September 1, 2006
September
09
Sep
1
01
2006
10:52 AM
10
10
52
AM
PST
Sladjo You hit the nail on the head. supernatural adj. 1. Not existing in nature or subject to explanation according to natural laws; not physical or material. As our knowledge grows so does our capacity to explain things according to natural laws. Indeed, we are still discovering natural laws and in some cases we even know what we don't know. An instance of this knowing what we don't know is the nature of gravity at the quantum field level. Quantum mechanics and general relativity are both exceedingly well tested, successful theories yet they are incompatible. In GM gravity isn't a force but rather an effect of curved space/time. QM is constructed in the flat space/time of special relativity and in that realm gravity is the fourth force and must operate as the other three forces do through elementary particles rather than through space/time curvature. The hunt is on for gravity waves which are the predicted cumulative effect of many hypothetical, massless gravitons much as electromagnetic waves are the result of many photons. Because gravity is so weak at small scales the detection of individual gravitons is considered hopeless. Other great mysteries we know we don't know are called dark matter and dark energy. The motion of matter in the large scale universe doesn't conform to prediction. Something we don't know about is behind the inconsistency. And it isn't a small inconsistency. The matter/energy we know about comprises only 5% of the apparent "stuff" contained in the universe. 20% is dark matter that we have yet to characterize and a whopping 70% is some mysterious form of energy that we have not characterized. With 95% of the stuff that makes up the universe veiled in mystery it's pretty arrogant to presume we know what's going on. It's analogous to saying we know everything there is to know about the ocean by observing just the wind whipped froth on the surface!DaveScot
September 1, 2006
September
09
Sep
1
01
2006
07:33 AM
7
07
33
AM
PST
"[…] it is certainly useful to make a distinction between “man-made” and otherwise “naturally occuring” objects, is it not? Perfectly right! A man-made object IS natural, but it’s DESIGNED, as well. In this case THE DESIGNER is natural. So, this also means that our Designer is also “natural”! We cannot see Him, we cannot touch Him, but we can suppose that He used NATURAL LAWS to create stuff… If we cannot imagine yet HOW He created, and if we don’t know yet WHAT ARE ALL OF THE NATURAL LAWS in the Universe, does not mean that we wouldn’t be able to understand that somewhere in the future. Because, as we can see - science is advancing fast, very fast!Sladjo
September 1, 2006
September
09
Sep
1
01
2006
05:17 AM
5
05
17
AM
PST
"Is intelligent agency a natural thing or not?" I don't think science has any trouble classifying humans as a part of nature. But it is certainly useful to make a distinction between "man-made" and otherwise "naturally occuring" objects, is it not?improvius
September 1, 2006
September
09
Sep
1
01
2006
04:50 AM
4
04
50
AM
PST
1 2 3 4

Leave a Reply