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Re, Seversky: “a lot of this reads like complaining because science isn’t coming up with observations and theories that you like . . . “

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Sometimes, an issue comes to a head, and there is then need to deal with it. The headline inadvertently shows that we are at such a juncture and the post yesterday on time to take the lead is therefore timely. For, the underlying problem at work on ID is that there is an often implicit but sometimes quite explicit ideologically loaded redefinition of science at work.

Accordingly, I think it appropriate to headline my response to Seversky, including the onward accusation of religious bias:

KF, 28 (in reply to 21): >>Strawman soaked in ad hominems and set alight to cloud, confuse, poison and polarise the issues:

a lot of this reads like complaining because science isn’t coming up with observations and theories that you like or, more specifically, that are consonant with your religious presuppositions.

What part of:

Science seeks to accurately observe, describe, explain, predict and enable us to act effectively in our world. So truth-seeking is critical to science. Therefore we have to respect findings of related disciplines that support that work. Therefore, we must anchor on empirical observations and recognise that theories are inferences to the best current explanation and are inherently provisional. They remain [live] theories so long as it is credible that they may be substantially true and no further. They are inherently provisional; subject to empirical testing and the requirement of well-tested empirical reliability.

This holds for experimental sciences. It holds doubly for observational sciences and doubly again for scientific investigations of origins, where that deep past cannot itself be observed; we see traces and try to reconstruct and date past circumstances back to origins. All of this successively degrades strength of epistemic stance of relevant theories.

All of this, the a priori materialist activists and their enablers will not acknowledge and have repeatedly tried to turn into accusations of stealth Creationism, “religion” inserting itself into the temple of science and the like.

— is so hard to understand?

Or, do I need to point to the exchanges in Kansas c 2001 – 2007:

2001 radical re-Definition imposed by evolutionary materialism activists: “Science is the human activity of seeking natural explanations of the world around us.”

2005 correction to that tendentious re-Definition: “Science is a systematic method of continuing investigation, that uses observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory building, to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena.”

2007 re-imposition after a dirty agit-prop operation and threats from NSTA and NAS to hold the children of the state hostage: “Science is a human activity of systematically seeking natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us.”

Of course, “natural explanations” is patently a code for naturalistic explanations. Imposing an ideological a priori as Lewontin indicated, is grand question-begging, indoctrination and disregard for duty to seek, present and stand by truth. The accurate description of reality.

Further, this was backed up by outright abuse of influence to hold families, children and their education hostage. Here is an excerpt from the NAS-NSTA letter that makes a very ugly downright threat that the complicit, enabling media did not expose:

. . . the members of the Kansas State Board of Education who produced Draft 2-d of the KSES have deleted text defining science as a search for natural explanations of observable phenomena, blurring the line between scientific and other ways of understanding. Emphasizing controversy in the theory of evolution — when in fact all modern theories of science are continually tested and verified — and distorting the definition of science are inconsistent with our Standards and a disservice to the students of Kansas. Regretfully, many of the statements made in the KSES related to the nature of science and evolution also violate the document’s mission and vision. Kansas students will not be well-prepared for the rigors of higher education or the demands of an increasingly complex and technologically-driven world if their science education is based on these standards. Instead, they will put the students of Kansas at a competitive disadvantage as they take their place in the world.

Utter moral and intellectual bankruptcy expressed in outright nihilistic, will to power might and manipulation make ‘truth,’ ‘right,’ ‘knowledge,’ ‘history,’ ‘education’ and more.

This was and remains utterly indefensible.

Just by contrast, let me clip some high quality college-level dictionaries from the period before this radical redefinition was imposed by domineering and disregard for truth:

science: a branch of knowledge conducted on objective principles involving the systematized observation of and experiment with phenomena, esp. concerned with the material and functions of the physical universe. [Concise Oxford, 1990]

scientific method: principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge [”the body of truth, information and principles acquired by mankind”] involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses. [Webster’s 7th Collegiate, 1965]

The first battle for leadership in science is to restore sanity to the basic understanding of what science is and does.

Something is DEMONSTRABLY rotten in the state of science and science education and it must first be faced if we are to get anywhere sensible.

Going further, with an historically-, epistemologically- and inductive logic limitations- sound understanding of science in hand, we can then look at experimental vs observational vs origins sciences, facts of observation vs theoretical explanations, degrees of warrant and responsible balance on claims such as “science is the only begetter of truth.”

Next, we can then squarely face the nigh on 70 year old finding that there is ALPHABETIC, CODED TEXT in the heart of the cell. Associated with, transcribing, editing, translation machinery and regulatory networks. Sophisticated digital information and communication systems at molecular scale and obviously tracing to origin of the living cell. Where the first cells credibly had 100 – 1,000 kbits of information in such codes, just to code the proteins and RNA they used.

It is not too difficult to show that 100 kbits implies a configuration space of ~ 9.99 *10^30,102 possibilities, per n bits implies 2^n possibilities. The search challenge for such with an observed cosmos of ~ 10^80 atoms with ~ 10^-14 chemical level interactions per second [fast for organic chem] on a time span ~ 10^17 s since the singularity is hopelessly too small a scope of generously possible search to space. It is not credible that any blind chance and mechanical necessity process arrived at such functionally specific complex organisation and associated information [FSCO/I] on the gamut of available search resources.

The only empirically well warranted causal explanation for such FSCO/I — and yes I am applying Newton’s vera causa principle — is intelligently directed configuration. On trillions of known cases.

Design sits at the table for explaining the FSCO/I in life as of right, from OOL up.

The imposed a priori evolutionary materialism lockout is bankrupt and dead.

Next, scroll up and glance at Barnes’ chart on just two of the many finely tuned factors: strong nuke force and fine structure constant. Holding nuclei together but with room for nucleosynthesis and electromagnetic [thus also weak] interactions. Notice the window of possibilities? And where our observed cosmos is?

Now, on the contingent option, fine tuning is blatant.

On the oh there is a covering superlaw option, we have simply exported the fine tuning up one level, as in where did such a locking law come from.

Where, you can see the multiverse appeal dilemma: keep your lab coat and recognise that appeal to multiverse is weak as scientific speculation [when we lack observation and perhaps observability . . . ] or go to multiverse and recognise you left the lab coat on the peg by the door and have to deal with worldview level comparative difficulties.

On either prong, we face John Leslie’s challenge:

“One striking thing about the fine tuning is that a force strength or a particle mass often appears to require accurate tuning for several reasons at once. Look at electromagnetism. Electromagnetism seems to require tuning for there to be any clear-cut distinction between matter and radiation; for stars to burn neither too fast nor too slowly for life’s requirements; for protons to be stable; for complex chemistry to be possible; for chemical changes not to be extremely sluggish; and for carbon synthesis inside stars (carbon being quite probably crucial to life). Universes all obeying the same fundamental laws could still differ in the strengths of their physical forces, as was explained earlier, and random variations in electromagnetism from universe to universe might then ensure that it took on any particular strength sooner or later. Yet how could they possibly account for the fact that the same one strength satisfied many potentially conflicting requirements, each of them a requirement for impressively accurate tuning?” [Our Place in the Cosmos, The Royal Institute of Philosophy, 1998 (courtesy Wayback Machine).]

AND:

“. . . the need for such explanations does not depend on any estimate of how many universes would be observer-permitting, out of the entire field of possible universes. Claiming that our universe is ‘fine tuned for observers’, we base our claim on how life’s evolution would apparently have been rendered utterly impossible by comparatively minor alterations in physical force strengths, elementary particle masses and so forth. There is no need for us to ask whether very great alterations in these affairs would have rendered it fully possible once more, let alone whether physical worlds conforming to very different laws could have been observer-permitting without being in any way fine tuned. Here it can be useful to think of a fly on a wall, surrounded by an empty region. A bullet hits the fly Two explanations suggest themselves. Perhaps many bullets are hitting the wall or perhaps a marksman fired the bullet. There is no need to ask whether distant areas of the wall, or other quite different walls, are covered with flies so that more or less any bullet striking there would have hit one. The important point is that the local area contains just the one fly.”

Cosmological fine tuning is here to stay, and it puts design squarely on the table as candidate to beat. For origin of our observed cosmos. The only actually scientifically observed one.>>

My onward invitation was: “Now, lead, follow or kindly stand aside.”

That’s where we now are. END

68 Replies to “Re, Seversky: “a lot of this reads like complaining because science isn’t coming up with observations and theories that you like . . . “

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    Re, Seversky: “a lot of this reads like complaining because science isn’t coming up with observations and theories that you like . . . “

  2. 2
    News says:

    Ironically, the reason the controversy has grown so much in recent years is precisely that naturalism is NOT coming up with the expected findings. I look out on a sea of splintered lecterns and wonder who in the recovered materials industry recycles this stuff?

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    Yup, especially with alphabetic code in the cell and with abundant evidence of a fine tuned cosmos.

  4. 4
    tribune7 says:

    The definitions presented as authoritative are an attempt to limit investigation and make inquiry follow a dogma rather than imagination. They are an attempt to establish a priesthood. They are anti-science in the classic understanding of the word.

    The thing to realize is that just because one claims authority doesn’t mean we have to accept it. As much as they wish to they can’t stop the graffito being scrawled on their wall or prevent the metaphorical finger being waved at them in the marketplace.

    We ask questions. They huff and puff and scream that we aren’t following the rules in an attempt to drown us out.

  5. 5
    asauber says:

    “They are an attempt to establish a priesthood.”

    tribune7,

    This is probably truer than we realize.

    “Hocus Pocus” has been replaced by “Natural Selection” only because it sounds modern, but the meaning is still the same.

    Andrew

  6. 6
    tribune7 says:

    Andrew,

    Remember, once we understand what they are doing, reject it and expose it, we get back science.

  7. 7
    Bob O'H says:

    Remember, once we understand what they are doing, reject it and expose it, we get back science.

    Yes, getting back to the science would be nice.

  8. 8
    asauber says:

    Yes, getting back to the science would be nice.

    So when are you going to start, Bob O’H?

    Andrew

  9. 9
    kairosfocus says:

    BO’H: what, kindly tell us, is science, and why do you understand it that way? Do you see why we would be concerned over a game of definitional gerrymandering backed by raw nihilistic power? KF

  10. 10
    tribune7 says:

    Yes, getting back to the science would be nice.

    Dittos

  11. 11
    harry says:

    “a lot of this reads like complaining because science isn’t coming up with observations and theories that you like . . . “

    Seversky,

    Using the wildest stretches of your thoroughly indoctrinated imagination, do you find anything even slightly suspicious about the following:

    Famous atheist Carl “billions and billions” Sagan assured us that “The cosmos is all that ever was, and all that ever will be.” He explained to us that if we ever received a transmission from deep space containing cleverly arranged prime numbers we could be certain that the message was intelligently designed.

    Darwin couldn’t have known this, but it turns out that the physical dimension of life consists of digital information-based nanotechnology the functional complexity of which is light years beyond anything modern science knows how to build from scratch.

    Atheism assures us that this information-based, beyond-our-own nanotechnology came about mindlessly and accidentally. But a mere clever arrangement of prime numbers is proof of intelligent design.

    Stretch your imagination to its limits and ask yourself “Could this possibly be a case of atheists believing what they desperately want to believe instead of letting the evidence guide them?”

    As you consider that keep in mind that the very definition of technology is the application of scientific knowledge for a purpose. Life is technology beyond our own.

  12. 12
    jdk says:

    kf, your summary of the Kansas situation is abysmal. The “dirty agit prop” operation of restoring the definition of science occurred because the people of Kansas voted out the 2005 Board and voted in Board members who supported mainstream science: democracy in action. The supporting letters you quote were not threats: they were statements of opinion that many people, including the majority of voters in Kansas, believed were true.

    And the Kansas science standards explicitly pointed out that many important questions in the world could not be addressed by science: the standards did not endorse materialism.

    I’m not going to get involved in arguing with you about this, but your ideologically-fueled intellectuall dishonesty is duly noted.

  13. 13
    Bob O'H says:

    asauber @ 8 – I’m doing science. Actually, if you check, um, Science this week, you’ll see my name. If you check very closely.

    kf @ 9 – My comment was expressing a frustration about a lack of science on these pages. I’m not going to get into a game of “definitional gerrymandering”, which is what will happen. I am neither a philosopher or lexicographer, so I don’t want to get into definitional games.

  14. 14

    harry @ 11: Good points.

  15. 15
    asauber says:

    Actually, if you check, um, Science this week, you’ll see my name.

    Link?

    (I can already tell this isn’t going to go well.)

    Andrew

  16. 16
    kairosfocus says:

    JDK, you full well know we long since thrashed this out in UD’s pages and I can freely say that the people of Kansas were deceived by activists whose asserted ideologically loaded redefinition of science falls of its own weight. Further to this, as was just noted, NSTA and NAS outright held the children of Kansas hostage for their education and job hopes. In this, the radical activists were aided and abetted by a complicit, enabling media that simply has not properly disclosed the truth about what the impositions in the 2001 and 2007 redefinitions do to science. (Cf. case in point here.) In effect, turning it into atheism in a lab-coat that locks out findings that do not fit the evolutionary materialistic agenda. In short, this is a classic case of nihilists — yes, face it — using will to power and manipulation to impose a crooked yardstick as standard of what is straight, accurate and upright. When that is done, what is really so cannot ever pass the crooked test. KF

  17. 17
    kairosfocus says:

    BO’H: Pardon but with all due respects, where were you when we just had several threads on technical matters up to and including the issue of an extension to the second law of thermodynamics? Indeed in the above and onward linked there is a significant body of scientific matter at stake, but the basic problem is we are also dealing with a radical, ideologically loaded, historically unjustified redefinition of science that turns it into little more than atheism dressed up in a lab coat; imposing a crooked yardstick standard. Until that is understood and addressed, we cannot make serious progress. But then, we are also dealing with refusal to acknowledge self-evident first principles of right reason tied to distinct identity, challenges to what knowledge is and to what truth is, that is how far we have slipped as a civilisation. KF

  18. 18
    kairosfocus says:

    AS. BO’H may well have a paper in Science. KF

  19. 19
    tribune7 says:

    Bob,

    I’m not going to get into a game of “definitional gerrymandering”,

    That’s fine but that is really the big issue. Ask why would ID need a special site? What happens when ID proponents defend their views on other science-based sites? Is there polite if vigorous disagreement or are they mocked and driven away? How about in an academic environment where one’s job/tenure may be on the line?

    Limiting natural science to discussions of natural mechanisms is fine, but the minute you start holding natural science as the the determining authority for all truth and morality and public policy — I’m not accusing you of this, but obviously this happens — you stop practicing natural science.

  20. 20
    asauber says:

    BO’H may well have a paper in Science. KF

    KF,

    He prolly does. Why is it a chore for him to post a link to some information about it?

    I mean, apparently he has all the time in the world to post drive-by comments… why can’t one have a link in it?

    Andrew

  21. 21
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: ENV on the 2005 situation — note what NYT did:

    Kansas Definition of Science Consistent With All Other States Contrary to Media Claims
    Robert L. Crowther, II | @RLCrowther
    November 15, 2005, 1:40 PM

    The New York Times report that Kansas state has redefined science is in fact false and the reporting misleads the public in regards to how science is defined by most states across the country.
    In a Science Times article echoing other mainstream media’s misreports, the New York Times today reports that Kansas has “redefined science,” stating:

    In the course of revising the state’s science standards to include criticism of evolution, the board promulgated a new definition of science itself.

    This is not accurate, the state did not adopt a “new definition of science.” In fact, the standard now in place in Kansas realigns the state with all other states in the nation that define science in their standards.
    Kansas reinstated a traditional definition of science which reads: “Science is a systematic method of continuing investigation that uses observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory-building to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena.” This is nearly identical to the definition of science adhered to in 40 states across the country (nine states do not define science at all). Kansas is the only state that did not have a traditional definition of science.
    In May of this year Discovery Institute issued a study examining the definitions of science used by all states in the nation which found that:

    The definition of science … is fully consistent with definitions used by all other states in the U.S. By contrast, the definition of science currently used in the Kansas standards … is idiosyncratic and out of step with current educational practice.

    The Discovery Institute study was conducted by biologist, Dr. Jonathan Wells, a senior fellow with the Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, and later sent to the Kansas State Board of Education. The complete text of the study is published below so that readers can see for themselves what the definitions of science are like in all states.

    Definitions of Science in State Standards
    Research by Jonathan Wells, Ph.D
    Summary
    The definition of science proposed in the Minority Report [note: the minority report is what the Kansas state board of education adopted as its new science standards] is fully consistent with definitions used by all other states in the U.S. By contrast, the definition of science currently used in the Kansas standards and defended by the Majority is idiosyncratic and out of step with current educational practice.
    Reviewers Dennison and Miller claim that the Minority Report proposes a radical re-definition of science. Yet a comprehensive survey of state science standards (attached below) shows that all other states in the union that define science in their standards define it in a way similar to the Minority.
    Dennison and Miller, along with reviewers Heppert and Theobald, also claim that the revised definition would open the door to supernatural explanations in science. This is simply false: No one is proposing that supernatural explanations should be included in science.
    The definition of science in the current Kansas science standards is unlike any other in the U.S. By defining science first and foremost as “seeking natural explanations,” the current standards subtly shift the emphasis in science education from the investigative process to the end result. This shift is out of step with modern science education, which gives priority to the activity of formulating and testing hypotheses. The Minority’s definition is consistent with science as an open-ended inquiry that follows the evidence wherever it leads. The Majority’s definition, by contrast, shortcircuits this process of inquiry and encourages premature answers to scientific questions — the sort of “just-so stories” criticized by scientists such as Stephen Jay Gould.
    The only other state in the U.S. that explicitly limits science to naturalistic explanations is Massachusetts. In the Massachusetts science standards, however, this limitation comes at the end of a detailed description of the scientific enterprise that begins by defining science more generally as “attempts to give good accounts of the patterns in nature.” Only Kansas currently defines science primarily as “seeking natural explanations.” As the comprehensive survey attached below shows, the Minority’s proposed revision would bring the Kansas science standards back into the mainstream of the U.S. science education community.
    A Comprehensive Survey of State Science Standards
    Of the fifty states, nine include no definition of science or explicit description of scientific inquiry in standards accessible through the Internet. The standards of forty states include a definition of science or explicit description of scientific inquiry that is consistent with the one proposed in the Minority Report. Only Kansas defines science as “seeking natural explanations.”
    Here is a sampler of science definitions used by other states:
    Arizona: “Science is a process of gathering and evaluating information, looking for patterns, and then devising and testing possible explanations.”
    Arkansas: “Science is a way of knowing that is characterized by empirical criteria, logical argument, and skeptical review.”
    Connecticut: “Scientific inquiry is a thoughtful and coordinated attempt to search out, describe, explain and predict natural phenomena.”
    Idaho: “Science is a human endeavor that seeks to understand the universe by observation, experimentation, and rational interpretation of observations.”
    Louisiana: “Science is a way of thinking and a system of knowledge that uses reason, observation, experimentation, and imagination.”
    Montana: “Science is an inquiry process used to investigate natural phenomena, resulting in the formation of theories verified by direct observations.” [CONTINUES]

    KF

  22. 22
    Seversky says:

    What part of:

    Science seeks to accurately observe, describe, explain, predict and enable us to act effectively in our world.

    […]

    All of this, the a priori materialist activists and their enablers will not acknowledge and have repeatedly tried to turn into accusations of stealth Creationism, “religion” inserting itself into the temple of science and the like.

    I don’t know of any materialist who would quarrel with science as broadly defined above although there are some, myself included, who reject the false distinction between so-called observational and historical sciences.

    As for religion inserting itself “into the temple of science and the like” I remind you of the 2007 survey of high school science teachers which found that 13% of them were openly teaching creationism in the science classroom in brazen defiance of the prescribed curricula. That in itself provides more than sufficient warrant for serious concern.

    Of course, “natural explanations” is patently a code for naturalistic explanations. Imposing an ideological a priori as Lewontin indicated, is grand question-begging, indoctrination and disregard for duty to seek, present and stand by truth. The accurate description of reality.

    If either you or Lewontin can come up with some facet of reality that is not capable of natural or naturalistic explanation then feel free to present it.

    Utter moral and intellectual bankruptcy expressed in outright nihilistic, will to power might and manipulation make ‘truth,’ ‘right,’ ‘knowledge,’ ‘history,’ ‘education’ and more.

    This was and remains utterly indefensible.

    I have no idea how you get all that from a letter making perfectly justifiable criticisms of the board’s attempts to water down the KSES which had a clear religious purpose.

    The first battle for leadership in science is to restore sanity to the basic understanding of what science is and does.

    I think we already have a pretty good basic understanding already of what science is and how it is done. All we need to do is to protect it from the various groups in society that vie for political power and social influence and who would try to break it if it doesn’t toe their various religious or political lines

    Something is DEMONSTRABLY rotten in the state of science and science education and it must first be faced if we are to get anywhere sensible.

    Science, as human enterprise, suffers from the failings of the people who practice it just like any other. Is it any more “rotten” than religion or politics? I would say not and it’s unquestionably more productive than any of the alternatives.

    It is not too difficult to show that 100 kbits implies a configuration space of ~ 9.99 *10^30,102 possibilities, per n bits implies 2^n possibilities. The search challenge for such with an observed cosmos of ~ 10^80 atoms with ~ 10^-14 chemical level interactions per second [fast for organic chem] on a time span ~ 10^17 s since the singularity is hopelessly too small a scope of generously possible search to space.

    Yes, a “tornado in a junkyard” by any other name. The chance of highly complex entities springing into existence fully-formed is so remote as to be next to impossible. We get it. So it’s just as well that evolution or OoL researchers are not suggesting that.

    Design sits at the table for explaining the FSCO/I in life as of right, from OOL up.

    Maybe, but it needs to bring rather more than just the appearance of design and questionable probabilities if it is to keep a place at the table.

    The imposed a priori evolutionary materialism lockout is bankrupt and dead

    There’s no lockout only a failure to justify letting it in.

    Now, on the contingent option, fine tuning is blatant.

    So is Douglas Adams’s puddle.

  23. 23
    Seversky says:

    tribune7 @ 4

    The definitions presented as authoritative are an attempt to limit investigation and make inquiry follow a dogma rather than imagination. They are an attempt to establish a priesthood. They are anti-science in the classic understanding of the word.

    You mean science should be handed over to your priesthood instead?

    The thing to realize is that just because one claims authority doesn’t mean we have to accept it. As much as they wish to they can’t stop the graffito being scrawled on their wall or prevent the metaphorical finger being waved at them in the marketplace.

    Funny, I was going to say something like that about religions.

  24. 24
    tribune7 says:

    Sev

    You mean science should be handed over to your priesthood instead?

    Ponder that question.

  25. 25
    Seversky says:

    harry @ 11

    Seversky,

    Using the wildest stretches of your thoroughly indoctrinated imagination, do you find anything even slightly suspicious about the following:

    Famous atheist Carl “billions and billions” Sagan assured us that “The cosmos is all that ever was, and all that ever will be.” He explained to us that if we ever received a transmission from deep space containing cleverly arranged prime numbers we could be certain that the message was intelligently designed.

    Nope, why should I? We’ve never observed a natural phenomenon tapping out the first hundred in the sequence of prime numbers or any reason to think that mathematics are anything other than the creation of intelligent agents such as ourselves.

    Darwin couldn’t have known this, but it turns out that the physical dimension of life consists of digital information-based nanotechnology the functional complexity of which is light years beyond anything modern science knows how to build from scratch.

    I remember reading that in the early days of brain research the organ was sometimes described in terms of telephone exchanges. The brain isn’t a telephone exchange but that was the most advanced technology available at that time which could be used to try and construct a model of the organ. Today we use information technology, computers and cybernetics because they are the most advanced technologies available. But they are still modeling “languages” or analogies. They still don’t mean that we were designed by alien cyberneticists any more than we were designed by alien telephone engineers.

    Atheism assures us that this information-based, beyond-our-own nanotechnology came about mindlessly and accidentally. But a mere clever arrangement of prime numbers is proof of intelligent design.

    Stretch your imagination to its limits and ask yourself “Could this possibly be a case of atheists believing what they desperately want to believe instead of letting the evidence guide them?”

    You still don’t seem to get it. As an a/mat I have absolutely no problem with the possibility that some ancient alien intelligence had a hand in the creation or seeding or development of life on Earth. I think that’s probably true of most materialists. It would be incredibly exciting to find compelling evidence – such as a deeply-buried black obelisk that beams a signal into space when exposed to sunlight – that something like that had happened. Unfortunately, we don’t have anything like that yet so the question is still open.

  26. 26
    Bob O'H says:

    Andrew @ 15 – here. I’m part of the large et al. list. I didn’t post the link earlier because I didn’t have it.

    Thank you for your patience.

  27. 27
    Bob O'H says:

    kf @ 17 – if the discussion was about physics, then I probably decided that I wasn’t knowledgeable enough to comment. I’m not a physicist.

  28. 28
    Dionisio says:

    Bob O’H @26,
    That’s an interesting paper you coauthored.
    Thanks for sharing it here.

  29. 29
    Dionisio says:

    Moving in the Anthropocene: Global reductions in terrestrial mammalian movements

    Science 26 Jan 2018:
    Vol. 359, Issue 6374, pp. 466-469
    DOI: 10.1126/science.aam9712

    Marlee A. Tucker1,2,*, Katrin Böhning-Gaese1,2, William F. Fagan3,4, John M. Fryxell5, Bram Van Moorter6, Susan C. Alberts7, Abdullahi H. Ali8, Andrew M. Allen9,10, Nina Attias11, Tal Avgar12, Hattie Bartlam-Brooks13, Buuveibaatar Bayarbaatar14, Jerrold L. Belant15, Alessandra Bertassoni16, Dean Beyer17, Laura Bidner18, Floris M. van Beest19, Stephen Blake20,21, Niels Blaum22, Chloe Bracis1,2, Danielle Brown23, P. J. Nico de Bruyn24, Francesca Cagnacci25,26, Justin M. Calabrese3,27, Constança Camilo-Alves28,29, Simon Chamaillé-Jammes30, Andre Chiaradia31,32, Sarah C. Davidson33,20, Todd Dennis34, Stephen DeStefano35, Duane Diefenbach36, Iain Douglas-Hamilton37,38, Julian Fennessy39, Claudia Fichtel40, Wolfgang Fiedler20, Christina Fischer41, Ilya Fischhoff42, Christen H. Fleming3,27, Adam T. Ford43, Susanne A. Fritz1,2, Benedikt Gehr44, Jacob R. Goheen45, Eliezer Gurarie3,46, Mark Hebblewhite47, Marco Heurich48,49, A. J. Mark Hewison50, Christian Hof1, Edward Hurme3, Lynne A. Isbell18,51, René Janssen52, Florian Jeltsch22, Petra Kaczensky6,53, Adam Kane54, Peter M. Kappeler40, Matthew Kauffman55, Roland Kays56,57, Duncan Kimuyu58, Flavia Koch40,59, Bart Kranstauber44, Scott LaPoint20,60, Peter Leimgruber27, John D. C. Linnell6, Pascual López-López61, A. Catherine Markham62, Jenny Mattisson6, Emilia Patricia Medici63,64, Ugo Mellone65, Evelyn Merrill12, Guilherme de Miranda Mourão66, Ronaldo G. Morato67, Nicolas Morellet50, Thomas A. Morrison68, Samuel L. Díaz-Muñoz69,70, Atle Mysterud71, Dejid Nandintsetseg1,2, Ran Nathan72, Aidin Niamir1, John Odden73, Robert B. O’Hara1,74, Luiz Gustavo R. Oliveira-Santos75, Kirk A. Olson14, Bruce D. Patterson76, Rogerio Cunha de Paula67, Luca Pedrotti77, Björn Reineking78,79, Martin Rimmler80, Tracey L. Rogers81, Christer Moe Rolandsen6, Christopher S. Rosenberry82, Daniel I. Rubenstein83, Kamran Safi20,84, Sonia Saïd85, Nir Sapir86, Hall Sawyer87, Niels Martin Schmidt19,88, Nuria Selva89, Agnieszka Sergiel89, Enkhtuvshin Shiilegdamba14, João Paulo Silva90,91,92, Navinder Singh9, Erling J. Solberg6, Orr Spiegel93, Olav Strand6, Siva Sundaresan94, Wiebke Ullmann22, Ulrich Voigt95, Jake Wall37, David Wattles35, Martin Wikelski20,84, Christopher C. Wilmers96, John W. Wilson97, George Wittemyer37,98, Filip Zi?ba99, Tomasz Zwijacz-Kozica99, Thomas Mueller1,2,27,*
    1Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre, Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung, 60325 Frankfurt (Main), Germany.
    2Department of Biological Sciences, Goethe University, 60438 Frankfurt (Main), Germany.
    3Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA.
    4SESYNC, University of Maryland, Annapolis, MD 21401, USA.
    5Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1, Canada.
    6Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, P.O. Box 5685 Torgard, NO-7485 Trondheim, Norway.
    7Departments of Biology and Evolutionary Anthropology, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA.
    8Hirola Conservation Programme, Garissa, Kenya.
    9Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Umeå 90183, Sweden.
    10Institute for Water and Wetland Research, Department of Animal Ecology and Physiology, Radboud University, 6500GL Nijmegen, Netherlands.
    11Ecology and Conservation Graduate Program, Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul, Campo Grande, MS, Brazil.
    12Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
    13Structure and Motion Laboratory, Royal Veterinary College, University of London, London NW1 0TU, UK.
    14Wildlife Conservation Society, Mongolia Program, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
    15Carnivore Ecology Laboratory, Forest and Wildlife Research Center, Mississippi State University, Box 9690, Mississippi State, MS, USA.
    16Animal Biology Postgraduate Program, São Paulo State University, São José do Rio Preto, SP 15054-000, Brazil.
    17Michigan Department of Natural Resources, 1990 U.S. 41 South, Marquette, MI 49855, USA.
    18Department of Anthropology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.
    19Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark.
    20Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Vogelwarte Radolfzell, D-78315 Radolfzell, Germany.
    21Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx, NY 10460, USA.
    22University of Potsdam, Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation, 14476 Potsdam, Germany.
    23Department of Biology, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN 37132, USA.
    24Mammal Research Institute, Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, Hatfield 0028, Gauteng, South Africa.
    25Department of Biodiversity and Molecular Ecology, Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach, 38010 San Michele all’Adige (TN), Italy.
    26Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.
    27Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoological Park, Front Royal, VA, USA.
    28Departamento de Fitotecnia, Universidade de Évora, Pólo da Mitra, 7002-554 Évora, Portugal.
    29ICAAM–Institute of Mediterranean Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Évora, Évora, Portugal.
    30Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive UMR 5175, CNRS–Université de Montpellier–Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier–EPHE, 34293 Montpellier Cedex 5, France.
    31Phillip Island Nature Parks, Victoria, Australia.
    32School of Biological Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.
    33Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.
    34Department of Biology, Fiji National University, P.O. Box 5529, Natabua, Lautoka, Fiji Islands.
    35U.S. Geological Survey, Massachusetts Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA.
    36U.S. Geological Survey, Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA.
    37Save the Elephants, P.O. Box 54667, Nairobi 00200, Kenya.
    38Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3PS, UK.
    39Giraffe Conservation Foundation, P.O. Box 86099, Eros, Namibia.
    40German Primate Center, Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology Unit, 37077 Göttingen, Germany.
    41Restoration Ecology, Department of Ecology and Ecosystem Management, Technische Universität München, 85354 Freising, Germany.
    42Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Millbrook, NY 12545, USA.
    43Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences, Unit 2: Biology, University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus, Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7, Canada.
    44Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland.
    45Department of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071, USA.
    46School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.
    47Wildlife Biology Program, Department of Ecosystem and Conservation Sciences, College of Forestry and Conservation, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812, USA.
    48Bavarian Forest National Park, Department of Conservation and Research, 94481 Grafenau, Germany.
    49Chair of Wildlife Ecology and Management, Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg, 79106 Freiburg, Germany.
    50CEFS, Université de Toulouse, INRA, Castanet Tolosan, France.
    51Animal Behavior Graduate Group, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.
    52Bionet Natuuronderzoek, 6171EL Stein, Netherlands.
    53Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, A-1160 Vienna, Austria.
    54School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.
    55U.S. Geological Survey, Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, USA.
    56North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, NC 27601, USA.
    57Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA.
    58Department of Natural Resource Management, Karatina University, P.O. Box 1957-10101, Karatina, Kenya.
    59Department of Psychology, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta T1K 3M4, Canada.
    60Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, NY 10964, USA.
    61Cavanilles Institute of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, Terrestrial Vertebrates Group, University of Valencia, E-46980 Paterna, Valencia, Spain.
    62Department of Anthropology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794, USA.
    63International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission (SSC) Tapir Specialist Group (TSG), Rua Licuala, 622, Damha 1, Campo Grande, CEP: 79046-150, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil.
    64IPÊ (Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas; Institute for Ecological Research), Caixa Postal 47, Nazaré Paulista, CEP: 12960-000, São Paulo, Brazil.
    65Vertebrates Zoology Research Group, Departamento de Ciencias Ambientales y Recursos Naturales, University of Alicante, Alicante, Spain.
    66Embrapa Pantanal, Corumbá, MS 79320-900, Brazil.
    67National Research Center for Carnivores Conservation, Chico Mendes Institute for the Conservation of Biodiversity, Atibaia-SP 12952-011, Brazil.
    68Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK.
    69Center for Genomics and Systems Biology, Department of Biology, New York University, New York, NY 10003, USA.
    70Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.
    71Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis, Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, Blindern, NO-0316 Oslo, Norway.
    72Movement Ecology Laboratory, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91904, Israel.
    73Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, NO-0349 Oslo, Norway.
    74Department of Mathematical Sciences and Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), 7491 Trondheim, Norway.
    75Department of Ecology, Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul, Campo Grande, MS 79070-900, Brazil.
    76Integrative Research Center, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, IL 60605, USA.
    77Consorzio Parco Nazionale dello Stelvio, Bormio (Sondrio), Italy.
    78Univ. Grenoble Alpes, Irstea, UR LESSEM, BP 76, 38402 St-Martin-d’Hères, France.
    79University of Bayreuth, BayCEER, 95447 Bayreuth, Germany.
    80Nationalpark Schwarzwald, 77889 Seebach, Germany.
    81Evolution and Ecology Research Centre and School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.
    82Pennsylvania Game Commission, Harrisburg, PA 17110, USA.
    83Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA.
    84Department of Biology, University of Konstanz, 78467 Konstanz, Germany.
    85Directorate of Studies and Expertise (DRE), Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage, Montfort, 01330 Birieux, France.
    86Department of Evolutionary and Environmental Biology, University of Haifa, 3498838 Haifa, Israel.
    87Western Ecosystems Technology Inc., Laramie, WY 82070, USA.
    88Arctic Research Centre, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.
    89Institute of Nature Conservation Polish Academy of Sciences, 31-120 Krakow, Poland.
    90REN Biodiversity Chair, CIBIO/InBIO Associate Laboratory, Universidade do Porto, Campus Agrário de Vairão, 4485-661 Vairão, Portugal.
    91Centre for Applied Ecology “Prof. Baeta Neves”/InBIO Associate Laboratory, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Universidade de Lisboa, Tapada da Ajuda, 1349-017 Lisbon, Portugal.
    92Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisbon, Portugal.
    93Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California, Davis, CA, USA.
    94Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, Jackson, WY 83001, USA.
    95Institute for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover-Foundation, 30173 Hannover, Germany.
    96Center for Integrated Spatial Research, Environmental Studies Department, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA.
    97Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, Hatfield 0028, South Africa.
    98Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA.
    99Tatra National Park, 34-500 Zakopane, Poland.
    ?*Corresponding author. Email: tucker.marlee@gmail.com (M.A.T.); thomas.mueller@senckenberg.de (T.M.)

    Science 26 Jan 2018:
    Vol. 359, Issue 6374, pp. 466-469
    DOI: 10.1126/science.aam9712

  30. 30
    gpuccio says:

    Bob O’H:

    “My comment was expressing a frustration about a lack of science on these pages.”

    Well, I have tried to do my part about that. With very scarce participation from the other side, includind maybe you.

    The most recent example:

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/the-spliceosome-a-molecular-machine-that-defies-any-non-design-explanation/#comment-650102

    Your comments would be highly appreciated. Who knows, maybe you could feel less frustrated, after all… 🙂

  31. 31
    Dionisio says:

    gpuccio,

    You’ve anticipated my point! 🙂

    That’s what I wanted to do: let Bob O’H know that perhaps he would enjoy engaging in the interesting scientific discussion that the distinguished professor Arthur Hunt started with you last December 21, but has not come back since last December 26, exactly a month ago.

    Perhaps Bob O’H could take over and continue that interesting discussion?

    That would be very appreciated.

    BTW, this website UD should be honored to count a scientist like Bob O’H among its frequent [objecting] commenters. As we can see @29, Bob O’H has coauthored a recent paper in a very prestigious peer-reviewed journal.

  32. 32
    gpuccio says:

    Dionisio:

    The scientific qualifications of Bob O’H are in no way under discussion. That’s why his comments are always appreciated (at least by me).

    Of course, he cannot make Arthur Hunt’s arguments, because he probably knows about them as much as we do: that is almost nothing.

    But he could certainly make his own arguments.

    After all, my OPs are not about physics: like him, I am not a physicist! 🙂

    Seriously, I have nothing against Bob O’H, and of course he is perfectly free to take part in the discussions about my OPs, or not, like anyone else.

    But, in general, it’s a little frustrating (yes, everyone has his specific frustrations, it seems) to see that intelligent and competent discussants from the other side complain about some lack of scientific discussions here (and I could partially agree about that) and then almost never take part in the biological discussions (and I believe we have had a few interesting ones), while they are always ready to intervene generously in the many discussions about religion, morals, politics, and so on (I have nothing against those discussions, but technically they are not strictly scientific, that’s all).

    In general, it’s a strange behaviour! 🙂

  33. 33
    bornagain77 says:

    So Bob O Hara is the 73rd or 74rth co-author to a paper that, basically, finds humans presence on the earth to be fairly ‘restrictive’ to animal movements. ,,, Perhaps, given Bob’s atheistic presupposition, more forced abortions, such as they have in China, would be the solution for him? Or if things get too bad with humans restricting animal movement, perhaps forced reductions in human populations could be achieved via massive concentration camps?

    Unfortunately for Bob, and other atheists who find humanity to be ‘detrimental’, and have even found humans to be ‘chemical scum’ on the earth, humanity is now found to have far more significance in this universe and on this earth than was ever presupposed in his atheistic worldview:

    Humanity – Chemical Scum or Made in the Image of God? – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElBWAwjPzyM

    Verse:

    Isaiah 45:12
    I am the one who made the earth and created people to live on it. With my hands I stretched out the heavens. All the stars are at my command.

    P.S, It is highly ironic that Bob would complain about a lack of science on UD when Darwinian evolution itself has turned out to be the very antithesis of sound science:

    Darwinian Evolution: A Pseudoscience based on Unrestrained Imagination and Bad Liberal Theology – video
    https://youtu.be/KeDi6gUMQJQ

  34. 34
    Dionisio says:

    gpuccio,

    I completely agree with your entire commentary @32.

    Thanks.

  35. 35
    Dionisio says:

    BA77 @33,

    Good points. Also interesting videos. Thanks.

    BTW, the numbers next to the names of the coauthors are references to the institutions they are associated with.
    Most positions within the list may not be precisely significant regarding importance.

  36. 36
    bornagain77 says:

    I hold that having a name anywhere on that list is not a point of honor, as some here seem to think it is, but is actually a point of shame. On my measure, the more responsible you were for that paper, the greater your shame should be.

    i.e. It is basically propaganda. Who in their right mind did not already intuitively know the conclusion of the paper? It’s main purpose is obviously, in fact, more for propaganda than for science.

  37. 37
    asauber says:

    Thank you for posting the link, Bob O’H.

    I’m going read through it and then let you know what I think about it. 😉

    Andrew

  38. 38
    Dionisio says:

    BA77 @33,

    The list of coauthors is mostly in alphabetical order by last names. I counted 115 coauthors. The first 5 names don’t seem in alphabetical order. The first and the last (#115) coauthors have email addresses provided.

    Bob O’H has the institutions # 1 and 74 following his name. Probably he does work associated with those institutions in Germany and Norway respectively? Bob’s last name seems Irish. Perhaps his ancestors were from Ireland? One of my favorite math professors at Oxford is also from Ireland.

    The last name in the list is not in alphabetical order probably because it’s the name of an important scientist associated with the paper.

  39. 39
    asauber says:

    I’m a little frustrated that I have to pay $30.00 for one-day access to the .pdf.

    So, the question becomes, is it worth that much for one day access? Is there anything that anyone can point me to that indicates it’s worth reading at all? (Since we are at this point)

    Andrew

  40. 40
    Dionisio says:

    BA77 @36,

    I see your point.

  41. 41
    Dionisio says:

    asauber @39,

    Perhaps the answers to your questions depend on how much disposable money one may have.
    For some folks $30 is a large amount. For others it’s petty cash.
    Judas the betraying disciple would have suggested to invest that money in helping poor people (whatever that means).

  42. 42
    gpuccio says:

    Bob O’H:

    I have read your paper. Interesting and well done. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  43. 43
    asauber says:

    Perhaps the answers to your questions depend on how much disposable money one may have.

    Dionisio,

    So the philosopher in me asks, “so science isn’t for the poor?”

    Andrew

  44. 44
    asauber says:

    I think this would be a great UD OP:

    Who and What is Science For?

    Maybe there has already been one, and I missed it.

    Andrew

  45. 45
    bornagain77 says:

    Not one Christian that I know is against good stewardship. But apparently, as was made abundantly clear by the Obama administration, good stewardship equates to no stewardship whatsoever for the environmental extremist:

    Obama’s federal land grab continues By Will Coggin
    For the Deseret News – February 29, 2016
    With the stroke of a pen, President Obama recently roped off nearly 1.8 million acres of Southern California desert. Urged on by environmentalist groups, the move is just the latest taken by the president in his attempt to lock away federal lands from productive use.
    His authority comes from an obscure provision in the 1906 Antiquities Act that allows the president to classify large swaths of land as national monuments by fiat. With the monument designation, the federal government can restrict all sorts of activities including ranching, off-roading and energy production — regardless of the wishes of local communities. Perhaps even more egregiously, the president disregarded a legislative branch that has repeatedly opposed the monument designation.,,,
    In 2010, leaked documents from the Obama administration identified more than a dozen sites covering 13 million acres as potential targets for monument designation. As President Obama’s second term comes to an end, we can only expect to see more government land grabs. And there’s not much local communities can do to stop it unless Congress rolls back overreaching presidential powers.
    https://www.deseretnews.com/article/865648883/Obamas-federal-land-grab-continues.html

    The real threat is environmental extremism – March 30, 2017 | US News & World Report
    http://www.aei.org/publication.....extremism/

  46. 46
    Dionisio says:

    asauber,

    My opinion doesn’t count even in my own home, but I think science is to benefit the entire humanity.

    If you either work or study at an academic or scientific organization, you may have free access to the papers, regardless of your socioeconomic status.

    If you know people who have access to the PDF copies, they may get one for you, under certain conditions.

  47. 47
    kairosfocus says:

    Seversky, 22:

    I don’t know of any materialist who would quarrel with science as broadly defined above

    Kindly, did you read the OP and above? You will find that institutional materialism has indeed tried to redefine science on ideological materialism and that in so doing children’s education was held hostage. Indeed, an attempt (across several years) to restore a historically well warranted and epistemologically justified view was subjected to an extreme and sustained attack. All of which played out on the ground and in the — of course deeply biased and frankly largely complicit — media 10 – 17 years ago.

    This is not a storm in a teacup.

    Going on, I also see:

    the false distinction between so-called observational and historical sciences

    Had you observed more precisely, you would have seen that — in a context of general degree of warrant for inductive knowledge — I pointed to FOUR degrees of warrant applicable in the sciences. Actual observations and linked facts of observation may be warranted to moral certainty. That is, it would be irresponsible to act as though one can simply dismiss or ignore them when momentous matters are at stake. By contrast, theoretical explanatory constructs are inherently provisional and face the pessimistic induction.

    Given that, we can see that as in experimental scientific investigations we can and routinely do set up checks and cross checks across a range by manipulating variables, we have relatively a high degree of support for empirical reliability. On the third case, when we must simply observe what happens to be, the degree of warrant for empirical reliability [notice, strictly, not truth] is proportionately reduced.

    Then, fourthly, on matters of origins, we cannot actually observe the circumstances that obtained in the deep past of origins; we observe traces that we can access here and now. This reduces the degree of warrant on empirical reliability still further. And, the too often unacknowledged importance of Newton’s vera causa principle applies: we should only refer to causal mechanisms demonstrated in the here and now to be capable of the relevant effects shown by the traces. Otherwise, we have over-promoted speculative notions.

    Your ad hominem against those in Kansas who sought to restore a historically well founded and epistemologically well justified first level understanding of science by trotting out the old religious agenda strawman is duly noted.

    Let us remind one and all of the definition of science they put back on the table:

    2005 correction to that tendentious 2001 ideologically loaded re-Definition: “Science is a systematic method of continuing investigation, that uses observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory building, to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena.”

    Kindly, specifically explain to us how this definition imposes some religious agenda, other than that educators should not be indoctrinating students in atheism through imposing radical and unjustified, ideologically loaded re-definitions of science. Such as, from 2001: Science is the human activity of seeking natural explanations [–> read, naturalistic] of the world around us.

    For convenience, I put up again, my extended idealised definition of what science properly seeks to be:

    science, at its best, is the unfettered — but ethically and intellectually responsible — progressive, observational evidence-led pursuit of the truth about our world (i.e. an accurate and reliable description and explanation of it), based on:

    a: collecting, recording, indexing, collating and reporting accurate, reliable (and where feasible, repeatable) empirical — real-world, on the ground — observations and measurements,

    b: inference to best current — thus, always provisional — abductive explanation of the observed facts,

    c: thus producing hypotheses, laws, theories and models, using logical-mathematical analysis, intuition and creative, rational imagination [[including Einstein’s favourite gedankenexperiment, i.e thought experiments],

    d: continual empirical testing through further experiments, observations and measurement; and,

    e: uncensored but mutually respectful discussion on the merits of fact, alternative assumptions and logic among the informed. (And, especially in wide-ranging areas that cut across traditional dividing lines between fields of study, or on controversial subjects, “the informed” is not to be confused with the eminent members of the guild of scholars and their publicists or popularisers who dominate a particular field at any given time.)

    As a result, science enables us to ever more effectively (albeit provisionally) describe, explain, understand, predict and influence or control objects, phenomena and processes in our world.

    I note that at 21 above, I excerpted from a list of school level definitions then in official use across the USA, which shows that the 2005 corrective was NOT out of line with current thought and praxis, but it was being seriously misrepresented in so major a media house as NYT.

    As for the dismissive appeal to tornadoes in a junkyard, you would be well advised to recall who stands behind that colourful figure of speech: Nobel-equivalent prize holding Astrophysicist, Sir Fred Hoyle. In that context, I challenge you to identify a case where under actual observation, FSCO/I of at least 500 – 1,000 bits of complexity has been demonstrated to arise by blind chance and mechanical necessity: _________

    I confidently predict, you and others of like ilk cannot, or you would have long since done so.

    I can point that intelligently directed contrivance or configuration routinely does this, with trillions of directly observed cases.

    The configuration space search challenge just outlined readily explains why. And so, we have excellent reason to hold that such FSCO/I is a highly reliable observable and tested sign of design as best causal explanation for FSCO/I.

    Time does not permit more for the moment. Later.

    KF

  48. 48
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Cosmology is in effect extended physics. That is the context of the fine tuning discussion. On FSCO/I, this is tied to information theory and again to statistical thermodynamics. Note the recent UD post on work from information through Brownian Motion. Here: https://uncommondescent.com/cybernetics-and-mechatronics/a-maxwell-demon-engine-in-action-beyond-the-carnot-limit/ This is the context of the FSCO/I discussion.

  49. 49
    asauber says:

    I think science is to benefit the entire humanity

    Dionisio,

    That’s a noble thought, but it really fails as a way for me to get to read Bob’s Science Paper.

    Andrew

  50. 50
    Dionisio says:

    asauber,

    In our case the abstract may suffice.

    You can guess the rest. 🙂

    Or read the pop-sci commentary on the paper.

    BTW, sometimes a paper is restricted by the publisher, but made available to all by the author somewhere else online. I try to keep off dubious sources, though.

  51. 51
    Dionisio says:

    gpuccio @42,

    Does the latest paper Bob O’H coauthored somehow relate to any of your latest 7 OPs?

  52. 52
    kairosfocus says:

    GP, 32: I find a strange consistent absence from substantial discussion on physics, astrophysics, cosmology, information and thermodynamics themes, too. I must except mathematics. Also, I have increasingly found — to my astonishment, concern and even horror — that a good part of the objections we face is rooted in problems with first principles of reason, logic and epistemology, ethics tied to that, what knowledge is, thus what science is. I suspect some of this will come out more as we look at AI, intelligent agency and linked themes in the context of the computing and intelligence side of the ID issue. KF

  53. 53
    jdk says:

    The Kansas Science standards did not advocate a materialistic or atheistic perspective.

    From the Introduction

    Nature of Science

    Science is a human activity of systematically seeking natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us. Throughout history people from many cultures have used the methods of science to contribute to scientific knowledge and technological innovations, making science a worldwide enterprise. Scientists test explanations against the natural world, logically integrating observations and tested hypotheses with accepted explanations to gradually build more reliable and accurate understandings of nature. Scientific explanations must be testable and repeatable, and findings must be confirmed through additional observation and experimentation. As it is practiced in the late 20th and early 21st century, science is restricted to explaining only the natural world, using only natural cause. This is because science currently has no tools to test explanations using non-natural (such as supernatural) causes.

    It is important to note that science cannot answer all questions. Some questions are simply beyond the parameters of science. Among the conditions that help define the boundaries of scientific explanations are the following:

    ” Scientific explanations are based on empirical observations or experiments. The appeal to authority as a valid explanation does not meet the requirements of science. Observations are based on sense experiences or on an extension of the senses through technology.
    ” Scientific explanations assume cause-effect relationships. Much of science is directed toward determining causal relationships and developing explanations for interactions and linkages between objects, organisms, and events. Distinctions among causality, correlation, coincidence, and contingency separate science from pseudoscience.
    ” Scientific explanations are tentative. Explanations can and do change. There are no scientific truths in an absolute sense.
    ” Scientific explanations are historical. Past explanations are the basis for contemporary explanations, and those, in turn, are the basis for future explanations.
    ” Scientific explanations are probabilistic. The statistical view of nature is evident implicitly or explicitly when stating scientific predictions of phenomena or explaining the likelihood of events in actual situations.
    ” Scientific explanations are limited. Scientific explanations sometimes are limited by technology, for example, the resolving power of microscopes and telescopes. New technologies can result in new fields of inquiry or extend current areas of study. The interactions between technology and advances in molecular biology and the role of technology in planetary explorations serve as examples.
    ” Scientific explanations are made public. Scientists make presentations at scientific meetings or publish in professional journals, making knowledge public and available to other scientists.

    Also, from the High School standards on the nature of science,

    5. understands there are many issues which involve morals, ethics, values or spiritual beliefs that go beyond what science can explain, but for which solid scientific literacy is useful.

    I have pointed these statements out to you before. They clearly show that the standards acknowledged that science was of limited scope and could not answer all questions, including spiritual ones.

    Your persistent claim that the standards endorsed materialism, scientism and/or atheism is wrong. In fact, I would call your continuing to make such a claim a lie, as the quotes above prove that such a claim is wrong.

  54. 54
    gpuccio says:

    Dionisio:

    “Does the latest paper Bob O’H coauthored somehow relate to any of your latest 7 OPs?”

    No, I don’t think so.

  55. 55
    kairosfocus says:

    JDK,

    Let’s roll the tape from you on the 2007 version of the standards, giving the controlling first statement:

    Science is a human activity of systematically seeking natural explanations [–> translation, naturalISTIC explanations] for what we observe in the world around us.

    Everything beyond that is controlled by the opening statement and that opening statement taints the whole. In effect, though subtly worded as is usual, it sets up an unwarranted control on inferences that will then be turned into a projection of oh you seek to insert religion into science.

    That, is turnabout projection.

    And it is exactly what was demonstrably done right up to the NYT.

    The issue is not improper insertion of religion in science and science education but freedom to follow evidence to truth without ideological control.

    Including, when that ideological control is by atheism dressed up in a lab coat.

    And this is exactly what was done, regardless of deflections to the contrary.

    While I am at it, I note to Seversky et al, that no we were not merely dealing with “criticism” of those nefarious Creationists trying to insert “religion” into science education. No, when the National Academy of Sciences and the Science teachers association jointly set out to rob children of the accreditation of their education for the thought-crime of learning a reasonable, and historically well warranted basic understanding of what science is, that is nihilistic abuse of power by holding the children and their families hostage.

    Let me repeat, this is the actual corrective definition that was being so targetted:

    2005 correction to the tendentious 2001 re-Definition: “Science is a systematic method of continuing investigation, that uses observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory building, to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena.”

    Where, again, here is the inexcusable paragraph:

    . . . the members of the Kansas State Board of Education who produced Draft 2-d of the KSES have deleted text defining science as a search for natural explanations [–> read, natural-ISTIC, as that is the patent intent] of observable phenomena, blurring the line between scientific and other ways of understanding.

    [–> What, to say that “Science is a systematic method of continuing investigation, that uses observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory building, to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena” is to confuse science with non science? Nonsense!]

    Emphasizing controversy in the theory of evolution — when in fact all modern theories of science are continually tested and verified — and distorting the definition of science [–> this is turnabout projection, which will create confusion in the minds of those ill-equipped to judge apart form the credentials of those who speak] are inconsistent with our Standards and a disservice to the students of Kansas. [–> false accusation of educational malpractice, in a jurisdiction with sensible libel laws this would have been come to court with a fat check book time] Regretfully, many of the statements made in the KSES related to the nature of science [–> including, a reasonable and historically well justified correction to the trendentious 2001 redefinition?] and evolution also violate the document’s mission and vision. Kansas students will not be well-prepared for the rigors of higher education or the demands of an increasingly complex and technologically-driven world if their science education is based on these standards.

    [–> a threat to abuse institutional power and influence to rob students of the accreditation of their education for higher studies and the job market, this is utterly inexcusable on the grounds before us]

    Instead, they will put the students of Kansas at a competitive disadvantage [–> outright falsity] as they take their place in the world. [–> intimidation by false assertion backed up by improper use of prestige and power]

    For shame!

    KF

  56. 56
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Just in case some are confused as to the basic nature of science, let me cite some high-quality dictionaries from the generation before this latest push by the atheists in lab coats:

    science: a branch of knowledge conducted on objective principles involving the systematized observation of and experiment with phenomena, esp. concerned with the material and functions of the physical universe. [Concise Oxford, 1990 — and yes, they used the “z” Virginia!]

    scientific method: principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge [”the body of truth, information and principles acquired by mankind”] involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses. [Webster’s 7th Collegiate, 1965]

    The 2005 corrective is well within that ambit, where we can take it to the bank that such dictionaries reflect good usage. Where also, obviously, Science has not materially changed as to its basic meaning since these dictionaries were written; or, frankly, for a very long time before that.

  57. 57
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: just in case the issue is not understood, could we kindly see the letters of correction and threat to dis-accredit educational achievement given out at about the same time to the rest of states such as Wisconsin by NAS and NSTA. Where, Wisconsin at the time had the following definition:

    Wisconsin

    http://www.dpi.state.wi.us/standards/scistanb.html

    “Scientific knowledge is developed from the activities of scientists and others who work to find the best possible explanations of the natural world. Researchers and those who are involved in science follow a generally accepted set of rules to produce scientific knowledge that others can confirm with experimental evidence. This knowledge is public, replicable, and undergoing revision and refinement based on new experiments and data… [Scientific inquiry] should include questioning, forming hypotheses, collecting and analyzing data, reaching conclusions and evaluating results, and communicating procedures and findings to others.”

  58. 58
    jdk says:

    kf, you dismiss clear statements about the limitations of science, and it’s inability to answer, or even address all questions, as “deflections”. That is an insult to the authors of the standards.

    You insist that the phrase “natural explanations” implies a philosophical naturalism when in fact the standards say they don’t.

    You impose your own ideological perspective to misrepresent what is clearly written.

    I think I have provided enough evidence for the unbiased observer to see that I am correct about what the Ks science standards said. One may disagree with them – that it a different matter, but to claim that they endorse atheism is a lie.

    ‘Nuf said.

  59. 59
    kairosfocus says:

    JDK,

    With all due respect, the issue is the controlling definition, which imposes a crooked yardstick as the standard for straightness, accuracy and uprightness. Unless it is unequivocally acknowledged as improper, removed, replaced with a proper defintition that is not ideologically loaded, and apologised for, we have every good reason to hold that those who implemented and enabled this acted in very bad faith.

    This did not happen in a corner overnight, it took place across years and in the teeth of every opportunity and frankly duty to have done better. It was ruthlessly pushed through by abuse of power, influence and media access.

    There is no excuse for this.

    We have a clear situation of ideological imposition that fits like a glove with the inadvertent warning given by Lewontin:

    . . . to put a correct view of the universe into people’s heads [==> as in, “we” have cornered the market on truth, warrant and knowledge, making “our” “consensus” the yardstick of truth . . . ] we must first get an incorrect view out [–> as in, if you disagree with “us” of the secularist elite you are wrong, irrational and so dangerous you must be stopped, even at the price of manipulative indoctrination of hoi polloi] . . . the problem is to get them [= hoi polloi] to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations,

    [ –> as in, to think in terms of ethical theism is to be delusional, justifying “our” elitist and establishment-controlling interventions of power to “fix” the widespread mental disease]

    and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth

    [–> NB: this is a knowledge claim about knowledge and its possible sources, i.e. it is a claim in philosophy not science; it is thus self-refuting]

    . . . . To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists [–> “we” are the dominant elites], it is self-evident

    [–> actually, science and its knowledge claims are plainly not immediately and necessarily true on pain of absurdity, to one who understands them; this is another logical error, begging the question , confused for real self-evidence; whereby a claim shows itself not just true but true on pain of patent absurdity if one tries to deny it . . . and in fact it is evolutionary materialism that is readily shown to be self-refuting]

    that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality [–> = all of reality to the evolutionary materialist], and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test [–> i.e. an assertion that tellingly reveals a hostile mindset, not a warranted claim] . . . .

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us [= the evo-mat establishment] to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes [–> another major begging of the question . . . ] to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute [–> i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door . . . [–> irreconcilable hostility to ethical theism, already caricatured as believing delusionally in imaginary demons]. [Lewontin, Billions and billions of Demons, NYRB Jan 1997,cf. here. And, if you imagine this is “quote-mined” I invite you to read the fuller annotated citation here.]

    And in case someone suggests this is idiosyncratic, here is the NSTA Board statement of July 2000 which found chilling expression on the ground five years later:

    We may note the US National Science Teachers’ Association [NSTA] in a notorious July 2000 Board declaration:

    PREAMBLE: All those involved with science teaching and learning should have a common, accurate view of the nature of science. Science is characterized by the systematic gathering of information through various forms of direct and indirect observations and the testing of this information by methods including, but not limited to, experimentation. The principal product of science is knowledge in the form of naturalistic concepts and the laws and theories related to those concepts [–> ideological imposition of a priori evolutionary materialistic scientism, aka natural-ISM; this is of course self-falsifying at the outset] . . . .

    [S]cience, along with its methods, explanations and generalizations, must be the sole focus of instruction in science classes to the exclusion of all non-scientific or pseudoscientific [–> loaded word that cannot be properly backed up due to failure of demarcation arguments] methods, explanations [–> declaration of intent to censor instructional content], generalizations and products [–> declaration of intent to ideologically censor education materials] . . . .

    Although no single universal step-by-step scientific method captures the complexity of doing science, a number of shared values and perspectives characterize a scientific approach to understanding nature. Among these are a demand for naturalistic explanations supported by empirical evidence that are, at least in principle, testable against the natural world. Other shared elements include observations, rational argument, inference, skepticism, peer review and replicability of work [–> undermined by the question-begging ideological imposition and associated censorship] . . . .

    Science, by definition, is limited to naturalistic methods and explanations [–> ideological imposition of a loaded definition] and, as such, is precluded from using supernatural elements [–> question-begging false dichotomy, the proper contrast for empirical investigations is the natural (chance and/or necessity) vs the ART-ificial, through design . . . cf UD’s weak argument correctives 17 – 19, here] in the production of scientific knowledge.

    Those who acted with ruthlessness like we have seen would have done better to have heeded Aristotle’s caution instead: That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like.

    We have seen what was done, we have seen how those who did that acted on a sustained basis, it is now a case of understanding that we are facing a long train of abuses and usurpations, so we are to act with prudence in our interests and those of our children and posterity.

    An educational system that imposes such a scheme and treats people and their children like that is utterly corrupt and intellectually bankrupt.

    KF

  60. 60
    jdk says:

    As I recall, Lewontin did not help write the Kansas Science Standards. 🙂

  61. 61
    jdk says:

    kf, more seriously your extremely inflammatory, hyperbolic rhetoric fails to separate metaphysical beliefs held by people not associated with the Kansas science standards with actual statements written by the authors of those standards, the majority of which, I know, did not hold those same metaphysical beliefs.

    Therefore, you are calling those authors deceptive liars.

    A few sample statements from above:

    As it is practiced in the late 20th and early 21st century, science is restricted to explaining only the natural world, using only natural cause. This is because science currently has no tools to test explanations using non-natural (such as supernatural) causes.

    It is important to note that science cannot answer all questions. Some questions are simply beyond the parameters of science…

    [The student]understands there are many issues which involve morals, ethics, values or spiritual beliefs that go beyond what science can explain, but for which solid scientific literacy is useful.

    These are honest, clear statements from the authors of the standards.

    Your refusal to accept their word – to effectively say you think they are lying about their true beliefs – is unconscionable, and displays how you are at the mercy of your ideological blinders to the detriment of other commendable human qualities that I would hope people would have.

    You can legitimately disagree about how you think science ought to be defined, and you can legitimately disagree about the truth of metaphysical naturalism (materialism, scientism, atheism, etc.), but you can not legitimately maintain that the Kansas Science standards definition of science was met to proclaim or endorse metaphysical naturalism, because the authors of those standards clearly stated that many important issues lie outside of science’s scope.

    I absolutely know you won’t change one iota of your perspective, and if this subject ever comes up again, you will repeat the same lies.

    One of my many favorite Dylan lines, from “Trouble in Mind”: the inevitable price of an extreme commitment to a dogmatic ideology.

    The truth is far from you, so you know you got to lie
    Then you’re all the time defending what you can never justify

  62. 62
    kairosfocus says:

    JDK,

    if your side had exercised a modicum of restraint and respect when the issue was on the table, I would now be differently inclined. Don’t forget I recall vividly the intent to smear and taint and make people look like was it Jackasses?

    In July 2000 NSTA clearly stated at board level its view that science was to be defined on naturalistic terms. (Lewontin in 1997 only blurted out what was obviously going on in connected circles. Three years later, we saw it: open and brazen.)

    In 2001, that imposition was attempted in Kansas.

    That nexus in time is highly suggestive.

    It was no mere coincidence.

    By 2005, the Board, advised by a dissent report, in effect whistleblowing, went back to a traditional definition that is well warranted and which was similar to what obtained across many states and even in dictionaries.

    Something that is obviously historically well warranted, also.

    The reaction this time was to hold the accreditation of the education of the children of that state hostage.

    With the NSTA and NAS clearly complicit.

    Now, too, I cannot find any credibility in the disclaimers oh well science does not determine all knowledge. Sorry a dominant and domineering faction here clearly holds that the physical facts fix all the facts, i.e. they are committed evolutionary materialists. They also on abundant track record hold that scientific knowledge as they have defined science — atheism in a lab coat — monopolises serious knowledge. So, when we see a few softening words meant to allay concerns, we must reckon with the pattern of manipulation already seen, and the pattern of abuse of power.

    Sorry, this is an era in which scientism is common, so modest-seeming disclaimers coming from a party that is known to be full of those who advocate scientism, are of little account. Especially, when smears and slanders and frankly holding children and families hostage on accreditation of their education have been put on the table.

    The ruthless have to be reckoned as adversaries with few scruples.

    They cannot safely be accorded the benefit of any lingering doubts.

    We therefore have every reason of prudence to hold that we are looking at imposition of redefinition of science as atheism in the lab coat,under false colours of education.

    And to further hold that the pattern of thought Lewontin inadvertently exposed, is there also.

    When the threats I pointed out are put on the table, we have every reason to hold to prudence. The system of education is corrupt, and it is intellectually bankrupt. it is dominated by nihilists, and it is not worthy of support.

    Were I a resident of Kansas or any other state under similar influences, I would insist on withdrawing all children from such a corrupt system, and I would be writing to elected representatives to hold hearings on what had gone wrong.

    As for the complicit media, I would boycott it, root and branch, and withdraw any and all advertising, subscriptions and facilitation. Were proper libel laws in place, some people would need to come to court with some fat check books.

    In the decade and more since these events, it is clear that things have only got worse across the USA and beyond.

    Education as a profession has failed in its clear duty, and state-funded education has utterly lost any credibility.

    Worse, it is clearly resistant to reasonable remonstrance and to calls for reasonable reforms.

    It is time to set up a serious alternative system and to decisively walk away from those temples of deception as was done in the early centuries of our era.

    KF

  63. 63
    jdk says:

    Well, kf, that’s pretty over-the-top. I can’t imagine how you walk around each day beset by such apocalyptic feelings.

    What do they teach about evolution in Montserrat? Does the public school system have written standards? If so, what do they say?

    Do you include the Montserrat public school system in your statement “state-funded education has utterly lost any credibility” and “The system of education is corrupt, and it is intellectually bankrupt. it is dominated by nihilists, and it is not worthy of support.” ?

    Or is this just education in the US you are talking about. How are things in your own front yard?

  64. 64
    kairosfocus says:

    JDK, I speak very specifically to the situation in Kansas, which was obviously a thin edge of the axe to push in the redefinition of science as atheism in the lab coat. There clearly was betrayal of duty of care of education and educators to truth in that push and the system is therefore bankrupt. The holding of families and children hostage for the accreditation of their education by NAS and NSTA also discredits these institutions. The complicity of the media further underscores that the media involved are not to be trusted. And, much more. KF

  65. 65
    ET says:

    jdk @ 53:

    The Kansas Science standards did not advocate a materialistic or atheistic perspective.

    They seem to rule out the teaching of evolutionism in public schools science classes. However I am sure it is still being taught. (no ne can test Darwin’s claim that vision systems evolved- not even in Kansas)

    Science is a human activity of systematically seeking natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us.

    The better wording would be:

    Science is a human activity of systematically seeking the actual explanations for what we observe in the world around us.

    The word “natural” is not needed and is confusing. Did Stonehenge arise naturally?

    Teach biology in biology class. Leave the untestable nonsense of natural selection being some type of force that can produce the appearance of design out of the science classrooms. But again, I am sure that isn’t happening in Kansas.

    So it seems that Kansas doesn’t really follow their own standards. But I am sure that they think they are. 🙄

  66. 66
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I should note on the subtly toxic principle that has been injected in such a way as to seem reasonable (especially to those who have been led to be ever-suspicious towards or at minimum forever apologetic over, our civilisation’s Judaeo-Christian heritage).

    Namely, so-called “methodological” naturalism.

    The first key trick in this, of course is that there is a grand suggestion that “methodological” removes the philosophical agenda involved in the naturalism.

    It does not.

    Instead, it subtly converts the effective meaning of “Science” into: the “best” evolutionary materialist narrative of the world and its origins, from hydrogen to humans.

    In short, when the NSTA Board said ” The principal product of science is knowledge in the form of naturalistic concepts and the laws and theories related to those concepts” they obviously meant it, and we should take due notice of that ideologically, institutionally imposed philosophical question-begging and associated censorship.

    (Of course, those who have been led to believe that Big-S materialistic Science has effectively cornered the market on knowledge and truth, will often imagine that Truth has rights to “protect” itself from pernicious, nefarious error. Especially error propagated by those ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked, right-wing, bomb-throwing fundamentalists. Besides, one does not let accounting fraud convicts teach accounting principles.

    The toxic prejudice involved in such projections should be duly noted for what it is, and it should be set aside. And, one should be willing to recognise that when one has been deeply polarised against the stereotyped and scapegoated other and has been led to enable ruthless action, something is seriously wrong.

    I repeat, we have here a case where, for the thought-crime of proposing a traditional, historically and epistemologically well-warranted schools level understanding of science: ““Science is a systematic method of continuing investigation, that uses observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory building, to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena,” the children of the state of Kansas were held hostage over the accrediting of their education, held hostage by NSTA and NAS.

    Where, we can directly see that in 2000 the NAS put up an ideologically loaded re-definition of science and that — patently not coincidentally — it was in 2001 that the slightly reworded loaded definition was pushed into the Kansas education system: “Science is the human activity of seeking natural explanations of the world around us.” “Natural,” of course, given the context, should be translated: natural-ISTIC.

    Whatever the real or imagined motives of those who argued for the 2005 corrective, that extreme response should be a warning. Where, let us note that JDK, above, has noticeably failed to inform us as to the letters of warning issued to the many states that c. 2005 had very similar schools-level definitions of science.

    Recall at 57 above, I cited from Wisconsin as a capital case in point:

    Scientific knowledge is developed from the activities of scientists and others who work to find the best possible explanations of the natural world. Researchers and those who are involved in science follow a generally accepted set of rules to produce scientific knowledge that others can confirm with experimental evidence. This knowledge is public, replicable, and undergoing revision and refinement based on new experiments and data… [Scientific inquiry] should include questioning, forming hypotheses, collecting and analyzing data, reaching conclusions and evaluating results, and communicating procedures and findings to others.

    Notice, the studious silence on the demonstrable fact that the Kansas 2005 corrective definition was in line with the obvious general pattern of the states. And of course, the definitions we can find in good quality dictionaries of the generation before the big push to redefine Science itself in materialism- in- a- lab-coat terms.)

    That direct world-view level implication — that science is being re-defined in ideologically materialistic terms by ruthless activists with questionable agendas — should be a first clue (and it is one Lewontin inadvertently let the cat out of the bag over).

    The second key, is that most people [especially today] lack a good understanding of philosophical issues and the relevant history of science, including on the worldviews of many of its founders. To such (having been steeped in agenda-serving, one-sided secularist narratives from childhood), the following will sound like near-self-evident nonsense, though it is in fact a readily supported, sound summary:

    Sometimes the most obvious facts are the easiest to overlook. Here is one that ought to be stunningly obvious: science as an organized, sustained enterprise arose only once in the history of Earth. Where was that? Although other civilizations have contributed technical achievements or isolated innovations, the invention of science as a cumulative, rigorous, systematic, and ongoing investigation into the laws of nature occurred only in Europe; that is, in the civilization then known as Christendom. Science arose and flourished in a civilization that, at the time, was profoundly and nearly exclusively Christian in its mental outlook.

    There are deep reasons for that, and they are inherent in the Judeo-Christian view of the world which, principally in its Christian manifestation, formed the European mind. As Stark observes, the Christian view depicted God as “a rational, responsive, dependable, and omnipotent being and the universe as his personal creation, thus having a rational, lawful, stable structure, awaiting human comprehension.” That was not true of belief systems elsewhere. A view that the universe is uncreated, has been around forever, and is just “what happens to be” does not suggest that it has fundamental principles that are rational and discoverable. Other belief systems have considered the natural world to be an insoluble mystery, conceived of it as a realm in which multiple, arbitrary gods are at work, or thought of it in animistic terms. None of these views will, or did, give rise to a deep faith that there is a lawful order imparted by a divine creator that can and should be discovered.

    [–> Clue: why do we still talk about “Laws” of nature? Doesn’t such historically rooted language not suggest: a law-giver? (And indeed, that is precisely what Newton discussed at length in his General Scholium to his Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy.) Of course, that will not move the deeply indoctrinated and polarised, but it is a clear marker to those who are willing to think more open-mindedly.]

    Recent scholarship in the history of science reveals that this commitment to rational, empirical investigation of God’s creation is not simply a product of the “scientific revolution” of the 16th and 17th centuries, but has profound roots going back at least to the High Middle Ages . . . .

    Albertus Magnus — prodigious scholar, naturalist, teacher of Thomas Aquinas, and member of the Dominican order — affirmed in his De Mineralibus that the purpose of science is “not simply to accept the statements of others, that is, what is narrated by people, but to investigate the causes that are at work in nature for themselves.” Another 13th-century figure, Robert Grosseteste, who was chancellor of Oxford and Bishop of Lincoln, has been identified as “the first man ever to write down a complete set of steps for performing a scientific experiment,” according to Woods.

    WHEN THE DISCOVERIES of science exploded in number and importance in the 1500s and 1600s, the connection with Christian belief was again profound. Many of the trailblazing scientists of that period when science came into full bloom were devout Christian believers, and declared that their work was inspired by a desire to explore God’s creation and discover its glories. Perhaps the greatest scientist in history, Sir Isaac Newton, was a fervent Christian who wrote over a million words on theological subjects. Other giants of science and mathematics were similarly devout: Boyle, Descartes, Kepler, Leibniz, Pascal. To avoid relying on what might be isolated examples, Stark analyzed the religious views of the 52 leading scientists from the time of Copernicus until the end of the 17th century. Using a methodology that probably downplayed religious belief, he found that 32 were “devout”; 18 were at least “conventional” in their religious belief; and only two were “skeptics.” More than a quarter were themselves ecclesiastics: “priests, ministers, monks, canons, and the like.”

    Down through the 19th century, many of the leading figures in science were thoroughgoing Christians. A partial list includes Babbage, Dalton, Faraday, Herschel, Joule, Lyell, Maxwell, Mendel, and Thompson (Lord Kelvin). A survey of the most eminent British scientists near the end of the 19th century found that nearly all were members of the established church or affiliated with some other church.

    In short, scientists who were committed Christians include men often considered to be fathers of the fields of astronomy, atomic theory, calculus, chemistry, computers, electricity, genetics, geology, mathematics, and physics. In the late 1990s, a survey found that about 40 percent of American scientists believe in a personal God and an afterlife — a percentage that is basically unchanged since the early 20th century. A listing of eminent 20th-century scientists who were religious believers would be far too voluminous to include here — so let’s not bring coals to Newcastle, but simply note that the list would be large indeed, including Nobel Prize winners.

    Far from being inimical to science, then, the Judeo-Christian worldview is the only belief system that actually produced it. Scientists who (in Boyle’s words) viewed nature as “the immutable workmanship of the omniscient Architect” were the pathfinders who originated the scientific enterprise. The assertion that intelligent design is automatically “not science” because it may support the concept of a creator is a statement of materialist philosophy, not of any intrinsic requirement of science itself.

    The redefinition of science in materialist terms — never wholly successful, but probably now the predominant view — required the confluence of several intellectual currents. The attack on religious belief in general, and Christianity in particular, has been underway for more than two centuries . . . . IT WAS THE AWE-INSPIRING SUCCESS of science itself, nurtured for centuries in a Christian belief system, that caused many to turn to it as the comprehensive source of explanation. With the mighty technology spawned by science in his hands, man could exalt himself, it seemed, and dispense with God. Although Darwin was by no means the sole cause of the apotheosis of materialist science, his theories gave it crucial support. It is perhaps not altogether a coincidence that the year 1882, in which Darwin died, found Nietzsche proclaiming that “God is dead…and we have killed him.”

    The capture of science (in considerable measure) by materialist philosophy was aided by the hasty retreat of many theists. There are those who duck any conflict by declaring that science and religion occupy non-overlapping domains or, to use a current catchphrase, separate “magisteria.” One hears this dichotomy expressed in apothegms such as, “Science asks how; religion asks why.” In this view, science is the domain of hard facts and objective truth. Religion is the realm of subjective belief and faith. Science is publicly verifiable, and is the only kind of truth that can be allowed in the public square. Religion is private, unverifiable, and cannot be permitted to intrude into public affairs, including education. The two magisteria do not conflict, because they never come into contact with each other. To achieve this peace, all the theists have to do is interpret away many of the central beliefs of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

    This retreat makes some theists happy, because they can avoid a fight that they feel ill-equipped to win, and can retire to a cozy warren of warm, fuzzy irrelevancy. It also makes materialists happy, because the field has been ceded to them. As ID advocate Phillip Johnson remarks acerbically:

    Politically astute scientific naturalists feel no hostility toward those religious leaders who implicitly accept the key naturalistic doctrine that supernatural powers do not actually affect the course of nature. In fact, many scientific leaders disapprove of aggressive atheists like Richard Dawkins, who seem to be asking for trouble by picking fights with religious people who only want to surrender with dignity.

    But the ID theorists do not go gentle into that good night. That’s what’s different about intelligent design. ID says that the best evidence we have shows that life is the product of a real intelligent agent, actually working in space and time, and that the designer’s hand can be detected, scientifically and mathematically, by what we know about the kinds of things that are produced only by intelligence. It is making scientific claims about the real world. Because it relies on objective fact and scientific reasoning, ID seeks admission to the public square. Rather than retreating to the gaseous realm of the subjective, it challenges the materialist conception of science on its own turf. It thus threatens materialism generally, with all that that entails for morality, law, culture — and even for what it means to be human.

    THOSE WHO NOW OCCUPY the public square will fight to keep possession of it. The advocates of Darwinian materialism believe that they are in possession of The Truth, and are perfectly willing to invoke the power of the state to suppress competing views [–> which should be a big warning-sign that something has gone very wrong] . . . [“What’s the Big Deal About Intelligent Design?” By Dan Peterson, American Spectator, Published 12/22/2005; also cf his earlier popular level summary on ID here. (HT: Wayback Machine.)]

    If the just above sounds like nonsense to you, I am sorry to have to advise you in this way, but you have been led to make a crooked yardstick into your standard of straightness, accuracy and uprightness. The problem with that, is that if crookedness is the reference standard, what is really straight or accurate or upright will never be able to measure up to the standard.

    This means, we need a plumb-line test. In this case, the actual history of the founding of science and of the views and approaches of its pioneers. No definition of Science that cannot accept the work and approach of the founders of scientific methods and disciplines across centuries can be correct.

    So, here is Newton in Opticks, Query 31:

    As in Mathematicks, so in Natural Philosophy, the Investigation of difficult Things by the Method of Analysis, ought ever to precede the Method of Composition. This Analysis consists in making Experiments and Observations, and in drawing general Conclusions from them by Induction, and admitting of no Objections against the Conclusions, but such as are taken from Experiments, or other certain Truths. For Hypotheses [= metaphysical speculations not backed by empirical support] are not to be regarded in experimental Philosophy. And although the arguing from Experiments and Observations by Induction be no Demonstration of general Conclusions; yet it is the best way of arguing which the Nature of Things admits of, and may be looked upon as so much the stronger, by how much the Induction is more general. And if no Exception occur from Phaenomena, the Conclusion may be pronounced generally. But if at any time afterwards any Exception shall occur from Experiments, it may then begin to be pronounced with such Exceptions as occur. By this way of Analysis we may proceed from Compounds to Ingredients, and from Motions to the Forces producing them; and in general, from Effects to their Causes, and from particular Causes to more general ones, till the Argument end in the most general. This is the Method of Analysis: And the Synthesis consists in assuming the Causes discover’d, and establish’d as Principles, and by them explaining the Phaenomena proceeding from them, and proving the Explanations.

    And yes, this is likely the root source of traditional summaries of science and its methods.

    What you have likely never been told is what else Newton said in that immediate context:

    Now by the help of [the laws of motion], all material Things seem to have been composed of the hard and solid Particles above-mention’d, variously associated in the first Creation by the Counsel of an intelligent Agent. For it became him who created them to set them in order. And if he did so, it’s unphilosophical to seek for any other Origin of the World, or to pretend that it might arise out of a Chaos by the mere Laws of Nature; though being once form’d, it may continue by those Laws for many Ages . . . .

    And if natural Philosophy in all its Parts, by pursuing this Method, shall at length be perfected, the Bounds of Moral Philosophy will be also enlarged. For so far as we can know by natural Philosophy what is the first Cause, what Power he has over us, and what Benefits we receive from him, so far our Duty towards him, as well as that towards one another, will appear to us by the Light of Nature. ”

    So, if we have a proffered definition c 2000 and echoed 2001 and 2007 that cannot deal with this history, it is patently wrong. Period.

    In short, there is serious and broadly applicable force to Philip Johnson’s response to Lewontin’s cat-out-of-the-bag comments. Force, that a reasonable and responsible person should ponder rather than dismiss:

    For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [Emphasis original] We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence.

    [–> notice, the power of an undisclosed, question-begging, controlling assumption . . . often put up as if it were a mere reasonable methodological constraint; emphasis added. Let us note how Rational Wiki, so-called, presents it:

    “Methodological naturalism is the label for the required assumption of philosophical naturalism when working with the scientific method. Methodological naturalists limit their scientific research to the study of natural causes, because any attempts to define causal relationships with the supernatural are never fruitful, and result in the creation of scientific “dead ends” and God of the gaps-type hypotheses.”

    Of course, this ideological imposition on science that subverts it from freely seeking the empirically, observationally anchored truth about our world pivots on the deception of side-stepping the obvious fact since Plato in The Laws Bk X, that there is a second, readily empirically testable and observable alternative to “natural vs [the suspect] supernatural.” Namely, blind chance and/or mechanical necessity [= the natural] vs the ART-ificial, the latter acting by evident intelligently directed configuration. [Cf Plantinga’s reply here and here.]

    And as for the god of the gaps canard, the issue is, inference to best explanation across competing live option candidates. If chance and necessity is a candidate, so is intelligence acting by art through design. And it is not an appeal to ever- diminishing- ignorance to point out that design, rooted in intelligent action, routinely configures systems exhibiting functionally specific, often fine tuned complex organisation and associated information. Nor, that it is the only observed cause of such, nor that the search challenge of our observed cosmos makes it maximally implausible that blind chance and/or mechanical necessity can account for such.]

    That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

    . . . . The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [Emphasis added.] [The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]

    So, for “methodological” naturalism, we should simply read: naturalism. That is, evolutionary materialism.

    It is time to address and correct the ideological captivity of science to evolutionary materialism.

    For, science at its best should ever seek to be:

    the unfettered — but ethically and intellectually responsible — progressive, observational evidence-led pursuit of the truth about our world (i.e. an accurate and reliable description and explanation of it), based on:

    a: collecting, recording, indexing, collating and reporting accurate, reliable (and where feasible, repeatable) empirical — real-world, on the ground — observations and measurements,

    b: inference to best current — thus, always provisional — abductive explanation of the observed facts,

    c: thus producing hypotheses, laws, theories and models, using logical-mathematical analysis, intuition and creative, rational imagination [[including Einstein’s favourite gedankenexperiment, i.e thought experiments],

    d: continual empirical testing through further experiments, observations and measurement; and,

    e: uncensored but mutually respectful discussion on the merits of fact, alternative assumptions and logic among the informed. (And, especially in wide-ranging areas that cut across traditional dividing lines between fields of study, or on controversial subjects, “the informed” is not to be confused with the eminent members of the guild of scholars and their publicists or popularisers who dominate a particular field at any given time.)

    As a result, science enables us to ever more effectively (albeit provisionally) describe, explain, understand, predict and influence or control objects, phenomena and processes in our world.

    KF

  67. 67
    Bob O'H says:

    gpuccio @ 30 & Dionisio @31 – Fair point. I don’t get into molecular or cell biology too much, because that’s not my area of expertise.

    asauber, Dionisio, gpuccio – thanks for your comments about the paper! asauber is right – it’s not worth $30 for one day’s access. I can send you a pdf, or you might be able to find one online (e.g. on SciHub).

  68. 68
    gpuccio says:

    Bob O’H:

    Thank you for your comment.

    OK, molecular biology, after all, is not my area of expertise too, I am a medical doctor. 🙂

    But I think both you and I have some basic biological education, and some personal work can help to be able to discuss some things in relation to wide paradigms. That’s what I try to do.

    Anyway, your participation will always be welcome. 🙂

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