Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

An Islamic Perspective on ID


Ahmed K. Sultan Salem’s “The Non-Science of Intelligent Design” is probably the most ambivalent article about ID that I’ve ever read. Here’s a sample:

Two arguments can be made[ regarding the scientific status of ID]. The first is that ID is an impediment to science as it moves from the deficiency of the current hypotheses to a statement that we will never succeed in explaining the phenomenon scientifically. This can be countered by another argument that ID, by showing the inadequateness of current explanations, may help awaken the scientists from their intellectual slumber, something that often takes place given the inertia of the scientific culture (and other cultures). ID can be a motivator for scientists to think outside the box and try to propose alternative hypotheses. It is extremely unlikely that all the scientists will take an ID result and stop hunting for naturalistic explanations. The point is that ID may harm science, but ignoring it may also harm science. After all, everything has its share of merits and demerits.

"I am of the mindset that too much of the discussion is focusing on “intelligent causation” and its philosophical consequences (the nature of the designer, the intent of the designer, etc.) as opposed to a “design inference.”" That's certainly true, it seems to be human nature to be concerned with reading a message rather than simply detecting that it is a message. I suppose one could look at your writing and set about trying to detect whether it is an artifact of intelligence or not by tracing it back through the network onto your computer and back to your neural nets. It's just that no one needs to do such things because we generally assume it all. Yet if we were aliens and came across an artifact of human intelligence whose "thoughts were not our thoughts" and only fragments of a computer were found and the like then it would be necessary to get some distance and try to detect exactly what is what. It would probably be difficult, especially if our own technology were far inferior. We probably wouldn't understand much of the design until our own technology caught up enough to understand the basic principles the more advanced technology was using. E.g.
There are dozens of examples where advances in technology have emphasized the ingenuity of biological design. One fascinating example of this was the construction of the Soviet lunar exploratory machine, the Lunakod, which moved by articulated legs. Legs, rather than wheels, were chosen because of the much greater ease with which an articulated machine could traverse the uneven terrain likely to be met on the lunar surface. Altogether, the Lunakod eerily resembled a giant ant, so much so that it was no longer possible to look on the articulated legs of an insect without a new sense of awe and the realization that what one had once taken for granted, and superficially considered a simple adaptation, represented a very sophisticated technological solution to the problem of mobility over an uneven terrain. The con trol mechanisms necessary to coordinate the motion of articulated legs are far more complicated than might be imagined at first sight. As Raibert and Sutherland, who are currently working in this area, admit. 'It is clear that very sophisticated computer-control programs will be an important component of machines that smoothly crawl, walk or run. But it is at a molecular level where the analogy between the mech anical and biological worlds is so striking, that the genius of biological design and the perfection of the goals achieved are most pronounced.
(Evolution: A Theory in Crisis By Michael Denton :333) Getting some distance from basic assumptions and the dialectic it sets up is a scientific necessity that even those stuck in the womb of Mother Nature and deep down in Plato's cave seem to realize in the case of ID sometime. ID is a useful tool for drawing them out some, even if they do seem intent on crawling back into Naturalism. My how the babes do cry if anything threatens to draw them out from Mother Nature though, listen, some are crying about something or other even now. They'll probably find some tittle of Mother Nature that they feel is out of place and then begin to suck on it while missing the main point about any evidence favorable to the transphysical. Those fellows often seem to consider tittles most titillating. So they suck. mynym
I am of the mindset that too much of the discussion is focusing on "intelligent causation" and its philosophical consequences (the nature of the designer, the intent of the designer, etc.) as opposed to a "design inference" (which has been primarily your work Bill). The more ID advocates ram home the point that "design inferences" are quite common in other widely respected legitimate sciences (such as paleontology) the more comfortable people will become with "Intelligent Design". Skeptical_Dualist
There's nothing like sticking your neck out and taking a stand. Are we sure this wasn't "An Episcopal Perspective on ID"? dave
Is there a logical fallacy for that one? The appeal to undetermined consequences? Charlie
This reminds me of a time a friend of mine was attacking the ID movement. At first he said how ID would hold back science. By the end of our conversation he was saying how ID is making scientists work “that much harder” for scientific explanations for the gaps in the current evolutionary synthesis. Not only are these two points inherently contradictory, but also this sentiment a priori assumes ID is not a legitimate scientific enterprise. Qualiatative
On second thought ...strike that. Charlie
But for certain something may or may not happen if scientists do or don't embrace ID and that might be bad, or good, or then again, maybe not. Charlie

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