Intelligent Design

Public not buying ‘I.D. is not science’ argument

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Public not buying ‘I.D. is not science’ argument
By Beverly Kelley
August 22, 2005

Ventura County Star
http://www.venturacountystar.com/vcs/opinion_columnists/article/0,1375,VCS_223_4020088,00.html

Opponents of intelligent design are going to have to rethink their “it’s not science” campaign slogan.

Any debate expert will tell you that all you have to do to refute a definitional argument such as “it’s not science” is cite one instance of unscientific content currently being taught in the schools. Just one. Carl Sagan’s “The Demon Haunted World” is chock-full of examples of junk science already crowding curricula.

Intelligent design advocates who purists find so infuriating are not your father’s “the world was created in six days” Bible-thumpers. They are, for the most part, credentialed scholars who identify two scientific developments that, they claim, could undermine Darwinism. The first is the molecular biology revelation that life is staggeringly and unexpectedly more complex than evolution can explain. (See Michael J. Behe’s “Darwin’s Black Box.”) The second is a set of mathematical findings that casts serious doubt on the power of natural selection to accomplish macro-evolutionary changes. (See: William A. Dembski’s “The Design Revolution.”)

In “Darwin on Trial,” Phillip Johnson charged: “The very persons who insist upon keeping religion and science separate are eager to use their science as a basis for (negative) pronouncements about religion. The literature of Darwinism is full of antitheistic conclusions.”

Intelligent design is enjoying a good year. It’s been featured on national magazine covers, deliberated on editorial pages, and “Nightline’s” Ted Koppel was shocked and awed by its “skilled marketing campaign.”

I.D. clubs are popping up at Ivy League universities. High-profile backers of intelligent design include not only the creators of the wildly popular Matrix movies but also the president of the United States.

Currently, the ban on teaching creationism is being challenged in 20 states. According to an April CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, three out of four respondents have no problem with both evolution and intelligent design being taught in science classes.

So if intelligent design is merely “a weakened and airbrushed version of creationism,” as adversaries sniff, how can its attractiveness be explained?

Three reasons come to mind.

First, never mind religion — the average American isn’t about to abandon superstition, pseudo-science or any other unproven phenomenon. Take a gander at cable television. The most frequently viewed shows, even on the science-oriented channels, focus on ghosts, ESP, alien abduction, near-death experiences and even good old Nostradamus.

Second, intelligent-design advocates are being assisted by a national sense of fair play. Demanding an equal hearing is at least as inherently American as motherhood, baseball and apple pie. In addition, intelligent-design advocates are aided and abetted by the media, which, obsessed with a warped 21st century “marketplace of ideas” mind-set, insist on presenting opposing points of view, valid or otherwise.

Furthermore, intelligent-design supporters argue that educators, who are tasked with preparing students to function as informed participants in the democratic process, are holing up behind irrelevant separation of church and state guidelines. As to any “not in my science class” objections, since philosophy or religion classes don’t exist in K-12, inquiring minds want to know, “Where should we talk about intelligent design?” So far, educators have ducked the question.

Third, intelligent-design foes have been unable to counter the “what would it hurt?” frame of mind that lingers around the edges of the dispute. Moreover, if evolution backers are actually engaging in anti-religious discrimination, as alleged, God help them.

Are evolution advocates simply afraid to entertain such questions as:

— Have researchers become so invested in Darwin, that they have ceased looking for contradictory evidence? (See Thomas S. Kuhn and “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.”)

— Is academia’s dirty little secret that scientists can’t expect to be promoted or published if they don’t espouse an atheistic, materialistic worldview?

Conservative columnist Cal Thomas fingered the reason advocates of intelligent design are never, ever going to give up, “Many of those red-state voters feel their faith, virtue and values no longer matter, and are no longer welcomed in the public square.”

“The intelligentsia,” writes Lee Harris in “Policy Review,” “has no idea of the consequences that would ensue if middle America lost its simple faith in God and its equally simple trust in its fellow men. Their plain virtues and homespun beliefs are the bedrock of decency and integrity in our nation and in the world.”

The armies have assembled their troops. They stare fiercely at one another across a wide expanse of munitions-littered landscape. On one side — purportedly the entire scientific community. On the other — determined activists for intelligent design. As they lob verbal grenades at one another, neither side seems to realize that the American public, in no man’s land, remains relatively unmoved by the “it’s not science” squabble.

— Beverly Kelley, who writes every other Monday for The Star, is an author (“Reelpolitik” and “Reelpolitik II”) and professor in the Communication Department at California Lutheran University. Her e-mail address is kelley@clunet.edu. Visit http://beverlykelley.typepad.com/my weblog.

17 Replies to “Public not buying ‘I.D. is not science’ argument

  1. 1
    Ben Z says:

    Intersting… but the article itself does seem to imply it’s not science.

  2. 2
    Dan S. says:

    This article makes interesting points, but it’s diminished by several factual errors and misleading statements. *Sagan’s book, as far as I can tell, is full of examples of pseudoscience and superstition inAmerican culture. So far the only relevant comment is a single sentence discussing poor science teaching, which mentions in passing that science teachers “are sometimes themselves unable to distinguish science from pseudoscience.” No examples are given (but I’m still flipping).

    *The writer dramatically overstates mainstream acceptance of ID research.

    * Religion classes do exist K-12 (bible courses, mostly, but there’s been at least one comparative religion-style origins (elective) course that I know of – although the latter was reportedly dropped after two or so years due to lack of interest – and probably many others. Such a course was reportedly proposed as a compromise solution to the Dover situation, but ID proponents on the board apparently weren’t interested.

    * To talk about an atheistic, materialistic worldview conflates methodological and metaphysical naturalism, and suggests that science – at least mainstream science – is in some way “atheistic,” an concept that makes about as much sense as “Jewish physics,” “Christian chemistry,” or “Islamic biology”.

    On the other hand, the Cal Thomas quote – whose writings I have an almost inexpressibly low opinion of – sounds right on the money. The letters in my local (blue-state) newspaper have reflected this theme, anyway. I hope we can resolve this problem in some way that doesn’t interfere with good science teaching.

    ******
    What on earth is warped about the marketplace of ideas? The media’s fixation with ersatz “objectivity” – which translates into blandly repeating both sides’ claims (for all sorts of things, especially politics) without any trace of judgement or perspective – yes, that’s ridiculous, but the underlying idea is a noble one . . .

  3. 3
    PaV says:

    I don’t think her intention was to present ID as science, but rather to look at the social phenomena associated with it. Nonetheless, she poses two important questions; e.g.:

    (1) Have researchers become so invested in Darwin, that they have ceased looking for contradictory evidence? (See Thomas S. Kuhn and “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.”)

    (2) Is academia’s dirty little secret that scientists can’t expect to be promoted or published if they don’t espouse an atheistic, materialistic worldview?

    Dan S., how would you answer those questions? I’m just curious.

  4. 4
    johnnyb says:

    “The writer dramatically overstates mainstream acceptance of ID research.”

    Mainstream where? Mainstream science? Maybe. Mainstream America, the acceptance is probably understated. While science itself cannot be determined by popular vote, what belongs in publicly-funded governmental education science programs certainly should be, unless we believe in rule by a “priestly class”. As Philip Johnson points out, the public thinks that it may have been hoodwinked on this one, and is now demanding an open, public audit of the books.

    “To talk about an atheistic, materialistic worldview conflates methodological and metaphysical naturalism, and suggests that science – at least mainstream science – is in some way “atheistic,””

    It depends. There are two things here:

    When you deal with the ordinary events that occur ordinarily on any given day, you are discussing things that can be empirically determined. However, when you get into specifics – that X or Y did or did not happen in history – then you are espousing beyond strictly empirical science. As Stephen Hawking said, no cosmology is independent of philosophy. So to present a cosmology IS EXACTLY to present a specific philosophy. If science is the study of the “normal rules”, to say that a given past event or set of past events must have occurred exactly according to the “normal rules” is to make a philosophical statement that the “normal rules” can never be broken. This is beyond the bounds of empirical science and stretch into philosophy, and is precisely the pretext on which the inference of unguided design and universal common ancestry are based.

    Second, there is the question of whether or not even the “normal rules” can entirely be determined in terms of material causes. If humans have free will, then the will cannot entirely be determined in terms of material causes. That is not to say that there are no material causes involved in someone’s will — noone doubts that material causes do come into play. However, to say that there are _only_ material causes is to reach beyond the available evidence and to posit something that is both unsupported and philosophical, not empirical.

    The question that Intelligent Design asks, is “are there only material causes”, and “are there ways of identifying features that have been set by non-material causes”. Intelligent Design says that intelligences (including our own) are not wholly subject to material causes, and in fact such non-material causes leave a distinctive ordering on material matter. This ordering can be measured, and the existence of a designer can be inferred based on the organizing characteristics of what is being examined.

    Here’s a question I like to ask:

    If a science teacher says that “everything is the result of material causes”, is that teacher in violation of separation of Church and State?

    If a science teacher says that “the description of reality is incomplete without God” (or any other non-material cause), is that teacher in violation of separation of Church and State?

    Both of these are equally unprovable (science, if it is to be regarded as the study of material causes, cannot therefore proclaim that material is all there is), philosophical (relies on the assumption that material causes are all that exist), and even theological (necessitates what God can or cannot do — if God exists, it assumes that He does not participate in non-material causes — not a proven statement, simply a theological one). Likewise take these two statements:

    “The evolution of life on Earth was an unguided process.”

    “The evolution of life on Earth was guided by life’s creator.” (or some alternate intelligence).

    Both of these are equally unprovable (noone saw this specific event occur), philosophical (proclaims that science is the limit of knowledge), and even theological (because it establishes as a factual basis what God is or is not doing). Yet in both sets of statements, the first would be allowed in the science classroom, and the second would be called “religious”.

    The point is that we actually do have a de-facto state religion — secular humanism. The modern mantra of “Separation of Church and State” simply means that non-secular religions are not allowed in schools, while secular ones are allowed.

    The fact is that science continually speaks to philosophy and theology, and the claim of those who are against Intelligent Design is that philosophy and theology cannot speak back in any way, even just to say that there are more than non-material causes in the world.

  5. 5
    Dan S. says:

    johnny b.:”While science itself cannot be determined by popular vote, what belongs in publicly-funded governmental education science programs certainly should be, unless we believe in rule by a “priestly class”. ”

    Well, this is a little tricky. If a majority of the population thinks that antibiotics kill viruses . . . what does one do? Certainly science ed can be determined by popular vote – within Constitutional limits. But if the popular vote ignores current science – well, that’s just kinda silly. Why have science class, then?

    Certainly science cannot claim that the material world is all that there is. But it has to assume normal rules, in some sense, or it can’t do anything. Is this a philosophical underpinning? Yes, and this is something which should be made clearer – that it is, that is has limitations, and that it is necessary.
    The thing with historical science – with a few words you’re sweeping away geology, astronomy, history itself, crime scene investigation . . .
    If secular humanism is a religion, it’s a pretty pathetic one. The problem with religion in school is – what happens when it isn’t yours? (People can try to get around this by having an ever-vaguer lowest common denominator “religion” – ultimately, Judeo-Christian-Islamic-Hinduism-Buddhist-Wiccan-Agnosticism – but somehow that seems to miss the point.

    Philosophy can certainly speak back to science, and even hold a kind of conversation. There’s a whole field of philosophy involved. And theology can certainly speak back to science, or again try to converse – it’s happening all over the place! Each and every Sunday, theology says that there are more than non-material causes in the world (and every other day as well). Is this is scientific finding? No. Then why should it be discussed in science class? As folks say, you don’t see scientists agitating for the inclusion of evolution in church sermons (or philosophy lectures, for that matter). That would be pretty silly.

    PaV, let me get back to you. Darn sleeping, eating, having real human contact, etc . . . : )

  6. 6
    mynym says:

    …theology says that there are more than non-material causes in the world (and every other day as well). Is this is scientific finding? No.

    If a brain researcher begins studying the brain scientifically and comes to the conclusion based on empirical evidence that something transphysical may be involved, is their conclusion scientific? Or did they just stop being a scientist and can make no more scientific conclusions? At any rate, for most people the issue is what is true or the closest answer to the truth, not what is scientific.

    On another issue, if “separation of Church and State” meant separation of theism and State the way that Leftists tend to argue then the Declaration, the Constitution and the majority of American history are all “unconstitutional.” The redefinition seems to be “The separation of the expression of any view I don’t like from me. I find everything I disagree with imposing and victimizing…because well, I’m a Victim. I bet I can snivel better than you!” And so on.

  7. 7
    scottdanielson says:

    johnny b. “If a science teacher says that “everything is the result of material causes”, is
    that teacher in violation of separation of Church and State?

    If a science teacher says that “the description of reality is incomplete without God” (or
    any other non-material cause), is that teacher in violation of separation of Church and
    State?”

    These two questions perfectly reduce the argument to it’s foundation. What we need is
    for both sides to acknowledge that these are philosophical and theological arguments and
    are NOT about science. As it stands now, each group interprets the same scientific
    evidence into their own little paradigm, and then tries to promote it as scientific. In my
    lifetime, the secular humanist has had free reign – boldly weaving ambiguous data with
    its own philosophical (materialistic) spin – and then rejecting all other interpretations as
    unscientific. From my view, this seems to be moving out of fashion. The public seems
    to sense the double standard.

    Dan S. “Well, this is a little tricky. If a majority of the population thinks that antibiotics
    kill viruses . . . what does one do? Certainly science ed can be determined by popular
    vote – within Constitutional limits. But if the popular vote ignores current science – well,
    that’s just kinda silly. Why have science class, then?”

    I feel that you might of missed Johnny b’s point. The community should have a voice in
    what philosophical worldview (or worldviews) our children are exposed to. Secular
    humanism and intelligent design are examples of worldview types. The fact that
    antibiotic don’t kill viruses is part of empirical science – notice the lack of lawsuits and
    weblogs dedicated to arguing the antibiotic/virus matter.

  8. 8
    Dan S. says:

    “If a brain researcher begins studying the brain scientifically and comes to the conclusion based on empirical evidence that something transphysical may be involved, is their conclusion scientific?”

    I dunno exactly what transphysical means, but if it’s essentially ‘non-material’ – how does the researcher come to this conclusion? if it’s something they can’t measure, observe, predict, etc., they couldn’t have in scientific terms; it would not be based in empirical evidence. (if it is, it’s part of the material world). In that case, what they’re basically saying is: “I don’t understand how this works, therefore it must be the result of non-material/supernatural processes.” Now, they might be right, but in scientific terms they have arrived at this conclusion illegimately. Recent history has numerous examples of direct nonmaterial/supernatural explanations for physical phenomena being replaced by material ones.
    Science is a way – a very, very productive way, within its sphere, for understanding the natural world. Let go of methodological naturalism in science and it just breaks down.

    “On another issue, if “separation of Church and State” meant separation of theism and State the way that Leftists tend to argue then the Declaration, the Constitution and the majority of American history are all “unconstitutional”

    Could you explain how the Constitution represents a non-separation of church and state?
    Certainly understandings of the Constitution have changed over time – and it has, as well. Large swaths of American history are unconstitutional.

    OK, let’s go at this another way. How would you feel if your (possibly hypothetical) child went to school and was taught the precepts of another religion (one different from whatever beliefs you profess)? What if she had to pledge allegiance to one nation under Jupiter, seriously recite genuine prayers invoking nature spirits, was taught about the historical inerrancy of – well, you get the idea, right?
    And indeed, thanks to the Bill of Rights and the separation of church and state, you don’t have to deal with this (or at least, you have legal recourse).
    Now – why would you deny this privilage to non-theists?

    ” I bet I can snivel better than you!”
    You’re right. No contest.
    (sorry, that was rude. I take it back . . .)

    “These two questions perfectly reduce the argument to it’s foundation.”
    No, it doesn’t! No science teacher should be making the metaphysical claim that “everything is the result of material causes.” Any good science textbook/teacher will explain, in a developmentally appropriate fashion, the limitations (and strengths) of science.

    “the secular humanist has had free reign – boldly weaving ambiguous data with
    its own philosophical (materialistic) spin – and then rejecting all other interpretations as
    unscientific.”
    So, how about that modern medicine? Pretty neat, huh?

    You’re conflating things, even as you try to disentangle them. There are philosophical and theological arguments that are really in no way about science. This isn’t what’s being taught in high school.

    “I feel that you might of missed Johnny b’s point.”
    Probably. I miss a lot. It’s sad. But look at what johnny b said:
    “While science itself cannot be determined by popular vote, what belongs in publicly-funded governmental education science programs certainly should be, unless we believe in rule by a “priestly class”.

    There are philosophical concepts, methodological misunderstandings, and theological claims hovering around this debate – that’s entirely true, and it’s a service to clarify them. But the practical matter at hand is whether or not something that the scientific community considers to be pseudoscience (or nonscience) should be taught in science class. From a certain viewpoint, it’s exactly the same as whether alien abductions, Atlantis, Bigfoot, oe ESP should be covered in science class. However, the very fact that this comparison is so potentially offensive shows why it really isn’t. The above ideas could productively be discussed and dissected in science class as a way of better understanding how science (and critical thinking in general) works. Treating ID in the same way would be a ripe mess, because of its religious conotations – too often, you’d end up either appearing to explicitly dump on students’ religious beliefs, or misrepresent science, or both. Bad idea.

    “The community should have a voice in
    what philosophical worldview (or worldviews) our children are exposed to.”
    Well, community gets fuzzy here – does the community always have one voice? What happens if their voices conflict? Worldview is also fuzzy – secular humanism is more or less a worldview, but ID more the product of one – don’t know what to call it, although like scientific creationism it is a result of the collision of modernity and a certain variety of faith. In theory I definitely agree with this – and indeed, the community does: it can organize Sunday schools and similar organizations; and I would argue that most communities generallywant their kids to be exposed to modernity in school – helps with getting those jobs, you know. As someone who majored in anthro and is fascinated by religion, I’m a big fan of social-study-ish comparative religion/mythology courses, as a Constitutionally-appropriate away to meet concerned citizens halfway – indeed, the one case I’ve read about, mentioned above, it seems to have made any controversy just go away, to the extent that there wasn’t enough interest to maintain the (elective) class. I get the impression that generally the folks most involved in the controversy want no such thing. They don’t want a voice. They want a megaphone.

    And again, what happens if a community doesn’t want its children exposed to scientific thinking, or critical thinking in general? I have a lot of sympathy for people who feel their family’s religious beliefs are being undermined by ideas taught in school(and the ones who choose to pass on many of the modern marvels that are a result of such ideas earn major consistency points). And it is public school. But that’s a major issue – this is a democracy, and as such to do this is to take a very dangerous path. As Jefferson said, “if a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”

    ” notice the lack of lawsuits and
    weblogs dedicated to arguing the antibiotic/virus matter.”
    You’re right (although it seems most people don’t understand this). So let me give a better example: vaccines. I’m not talking about the thimersol/autism issue, about which I know too little to have an informed opinion. I mean the folks who decide on the basis of no evidence (beside evidence against) that vaccinations are a bad idea, and don’t have their kids get them. This is folly. It’s idiotically dangerous, in a children dead for no reason sense. Attention to and understanding of empirical science is part of a worldview.

    Atheistic science? That’s like atheistic driving. Can anyone give me an example suggesting that yes, it is “academia’s dirty little secret that scientists can’t expect to be promoted or published if they don’t espouse an atheistic, materialistic worldview?”

  9. 9
    DaveScot says:

    “the public thinks that it may have been hoodwinked on this one, and is now demanding an open, public audit of the books”

    Bingo!

    And just wait until they see the books. All the intricate *machinery* under the hood of everything alive – even the simplist bacteria. Modern Americans have grown up surrounded by intricate machinery. All the machinery they know about came about through intelligent design. Therefore the a priori assumption is that all machinery, until PROVEN otherwise, is of intelligent origin. Everyone that’s bothered to dig into “the books” knows that there’s no proof or empirical evidence that proves the machinery of life wasn’t designed. So no one with a vested interest in standard evolutionary theory is going to discount design once they know the facts. This is why everyone with a vested interest in standard evolutionary theory is rabid about keeping not just design theory but even criticism of standard evolutionary theory out of public education. It appears they’ll stop at nothing and are afraid to compromise even one tiny bit. I don’t blame them, because if you don’t blindly accept the all-powerful RM+NS mythology you’re very likely to not accept it at all except in what it’s actually observed to do which is a far, far cry from mutating bacteria into humans.

  10. 10
    DaveScot says:

    JohnnyB – good writing and much agreement. One disagreement.

    “cannot therefore proclaim that material is all there is”

    Intelligent design of living things is a proven quantity in nature. What I like to say is “I’ll throw a genetically engineered rotten tomato at anyone who trys to lecture me saying that intelligent design is psuedoscience.”

    The only salient question is when intelligent agents tinkering with the machinery of life first popped up in nature. I see no good reason to presume that we were the first and compelling reasons to suspect we were not. Certainly the jury should still be out on the matter and both intelligent design and non-intelligent design of life on earth should be considered reasonable possibilities until more is known.

  11. 11
    Dan S. says:

    “there’s no proof or empirical evidence that proves the machinery of life wasn’t designed.”
    ‘There’s no proof that it isn’t true’ isn’t the most convincing argument I’ve ever heard, especially when the thing being asserted is something impossible to disprove . . .

    “This is why everyone with a vested interest in standard evolutionary theory is rabid about keeping not just design theory”
    um – maybe it’s something about teaching science in science class, so our kids can actually compete with the rest of the world . . .

    ” but even criticism of standard evolutionary theory out of public education. ”
    Geez, I’d love to get ‘criticism’ of standard evolutionary theory (at this point, this means exciting new scientific ideas with some degree of plausibility which have the potential to expand or otherwise modify modern evolutionary theory) in the public school general bio classroom. If the anti-evolution movement hadn’t spent the last 70 years essentially keeping evolution out of the classroom, with a frantically brief overview at the end of the year generally the best one can hope for (although there are cheerful exceptions), we might be able to . . .

    “you’re very likely to not accept it at all except in what it’s actually observed to do which is a far, far cry from mutating bacteria into humans.”
    Given that this seems to have taken several billion years, it’s not something I would expect to see in a laboratory unless I was really patient . . .

  12. 12
    Dan S. says:

    ‘We made cars, therefore Someone made us (in the same general kind of way that we made the cars)’

    I tend to think this is up there with : I made a whirlpool in the pool with my hand, therefore big whirlpools must be made by the Hand of God.

    Or maybe: well, we live in houses and argue and eat and love and sleep, therefore (the) God(s) must too!

    This is something I’ve never understood – why the anti-evolutionists always want to put God in such a little box – couldn’t have worked through natural laws, had to have worked in a way that our little 21st century toys could detect . . .

  13. 13
    johnnyb says:

    “why the anti-evolutionists always want to put God in such a little box”

    What little box? It is the naturalists who have the box of material causes. Anti-evolutionists simply say that the box is insufficient.

    “couldn’t have worked through natural laws, had to have worked in a way that our little 21st century toys could detect”

    The point is that what we are detecting is decidedly NOT from natural laws. If we had good, experimental reason to think that semantic information-generating was from natural causes ID would have a lot fewer supporters (before you say “ha! genetic algorithms!” please see a blog posting of mine here: http://crevobits.blogspot.com/.....ithms.html)

  14. 14
    Derek says:

    Johnnyb,

    So you’re saying that ID is not a theory about the operation of natural laws and natural causes. ID then, according to you, purports that there are supernatual causes for the origin of life. So, um, in what way is it a scientific theory?

  15. 15
    johnnyb says:

    Derek –

    “So you’re saying that ID is not a theory about the operation of natural laws and natural causes. ID then, according to you, purports that there are supernatual causes for the origin of life.”

    You’re committing a logical fallacy. “Super-natural” is not equivalent of non-natural causes (I guess there could be multiple definitions, but the one primary used is not what I’m talking about).

    ID purports that there are 3 causations – chance, law, and agency. Materialists say that there are either 1 or 2 — chance and law, which chance sometimes being disregarded depending on who you talk to. ID simply includes agency in the list of possible causes, while materialists do not. If there are 3 causations, then materialists are not giving us the whole picture, and science needs redefinition, and the methods of science need to be either revised or reinterpreted as to their scope and usefulness, especially when discussing an unobserved past.

  16. 16
    Derek says:

    What other definion for supernatural is there, besides that which goes beyond natural causes?

    Look, you’re just confused about the word ‘natural.’ Sometimes it is used to distinguish the effects of human action from effects that are independent of human action. In that sense science has no problem with explanations that go beyond ‘natural'(that is nonhuman) causes. There is a perfectly respectable scientific, natural account of the origin of watches, and it includes essential reference to human beings and their intentional actions.

    The sense in which science restricts itself to natural causes is precisely that sense in which the alternative is the supernatural. To say that something has supernatural causes is, from the standpoint of science, just to say ‘well, we don’t really know how it happens.’

  17. 17
    johnnyb says:

    Derek —

    You have failed to see what I was talking about. Does Science have a way of dealing with agency? So far, all I’ve seen in this regard with the exception of ID is that agency is somehow reducible to material causes. If this were the case, it would be the ultimate negation of reason (you can’t call one thought “reasonable” and the other thought “unreasonable” when they were both produced by material causes over which one has no control, especially when judgments on those causes have to be made on the basis of the same material causes). You seem to be sidestepping the issue and simply talking about people, and ignoring whether or not we are speaking of material causes or not.

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