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Student Video on ID

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FIRST PRIZE WINNER
Middle School
Caitie Adams, Hillary Wood & Anna Viterisi, 8th
“Science or Faith: Intelligent Design in Public Schools”
Lora Batchelor Middle School
Bloomington, IN
Insight Communications
Air Date: 4/11/06 | Watch Interview

Source: http://www.studentcam.org/winners_2006.asp.

Comments
Carlos, Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter. :) No really. Good post. dodgingcars
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Isn’t archaelogy studying human intelligence? Linguistics? Forensics? If intelligence is supernatural, then it’s too late to exclude supernatural causes from science.
This is what I was worried about. Unless one wanted to say that archeology, linguistics, and forensics study the effects of intelligence, and not "intelligence itself." The effects could be amenable to certain types of empirical study, even if the cause of those effects is not. The case is parallel to the ID story about biology: the effects of intelligent design are just complex biological phenomena, and those can be sliced, diced, measured, scanned, etc. It is the cause of those effects that lies outside of empirical investigation. What one does -- and the best one can do -- is infer, on the basis of the effects, that they must been caused by an intelligence rather than by an interaction between chance (mutation) and necessity (selection and law). Note that one important move made here is that we should regard as fully real all entities that are posited as existing by our best theories. Some philosophers find this objectionable, and want to restrict existence only to what is observed. I want to be less constrained about existence claims. If entities posited through inference to the best explanation can be said to exist, then muons and black holes exist, when regarded in light of our best contemporary physics. And if intelligent design theory replaces the neo-Darwinist story about macroevolutionary change, then we'll be as entitled to talk about the existence of the designer as we are entitled to talk about the existence of muons and black holes. For this reason, I've been fighting against the strict empiricism which some here want to use as a weapon against neo-Darwinism. Empiricism cuts both ways. If empiricism undermines the legitimacy of the sorts of entities that neo-Darwinism posits (e.g. selective pressures, speciation events), it will also undermine the legitimacy of any entities that occur in anyinference to the unobserved. And that includes the Intelligent Designer, for we do not and cannot observe It. In short, if you want to hold onto the possibility of being a scientific realist about the intelligent designer, you should not be an empiricist. Carlos
Isn't archaelogy studying human intelligence? Linguistics? Forensics? If intelligence is supernatural, then it's too late to exclude supernatural causes from science. dodgingcars
todd and Carlos,
Are human machines (planes, cars, microwaves, radios, etc) supernatural?
No, but they contain information that is of supernatural origin. Dembski used to be willing to say that the natural universe is informationally open, not closed. Now he has adopted what I consider to be a less coherent position, saying that intelligence is natural, but not material. He also describes intelligence as those causal factors that change one probability distribution into another. The problem here is that intelligence may change a distribution in such a way that an impossible event becomes certain -- a miracle may have a natural cause. I think intelligent design is dualistic by design. The first sentence of The Wedge Strategy is
The proposition that human beings are created in the image of God is one of the bedrock principles on which Western civilization was built.
A crucial part of a design inference is to determine that an entity could not have arisen by natural processes. Thus human intelligence is placed with divine intelligence, outside of nature. It is important to understand that, from an ID perspective, people are moral agents because they design their own actions. Thus the designer must be sui causa. Tom English
Carlos,
This means that ID should be as hostile towards the consensus in psychology and archeology as it is towards the consensus in biology.
ID advocates presently have more than enough to object to in evolutionary psychology and sociobiology.
I think most psychologists would be astounded and perhaps also amused to be told that they cannot succeed in studying intelligence through methodologically naturalistic science.
Yes, and most IDists would be astounded if they knew how useless the construct of intelligence is in psychological research. Sure, some psychologists will tell you they study intelligence scientifically, but the fact is that they operationalize intelligence in each study they conduct. I don't think any psychological researcher believes that intelligence inheres in the subjects. The situation is closely analogous in a field I have worked in, artificial intelligence. A researcher in the field may say, "I work in AI," but if you ask what he or she is doing specifically, you will never hear another reference to intelligence. Tom English
Are human machines (planes, cars, microwaves, radios, etc) supernatural? Obviously not -- though this does show some au naturalinteresting ambiguities in how we use the term "natural." (Other examples: "natural and artificial flavors" -- or how one speaks of "naturalism" and "naturalistic" in literature or painting.) But in the relevant sense here, "natural" is contrasted with "intelligent" -- "natural causes" vs. "intelligent causes" -- it seems clear, at least to me, that "natural" means "intelligible in terms of causal interactions between spatio-temporal entities." And microwaves and radios are 'natural' in that sense -- though presumably intelligence is not. What we need to establish here is the thesis that "information" cannot arise solely through causal interactions between spatio-temporal entities, but rather requires some intelligence. Presumably this means that intelligence itself is irreducible to such causal interactions (such as relations between neurons, etc.). This then begins to look like a strong version of mind-body dualism, at least. Well, maybe I should take that back -- one could consistently deny epistemological reductionism -- that is, deny that we could understand how to reduce mind to body -- without signing off on ontological dualism -- that mind and body are really different things. In any event, I'm beginning to get as suspicious of "naturalism" as I am of "materialism." There are many species of naturalism, and it's not yet clear to me how related they are to each other, if at all. Carlos
Question: Are human machines (planes, cars, microwaves, radios, etc) supernatural? todd
Intelligence is the supernatural source of complex specified information. This means that ID should be as hostile towards the consensus in psychology and archeology as it is towards the consensus in biology. I think most psychologists would be astounded and perhaps also amused to be told that they cannot succeed in studying intelligence through methodologically naturalistic science. Carlos
dodgingcars, From Dembski, "Intelligent Design as a Theory of Information":
My broad conclusion is that information is not reducible to natural causes, and that the origin of information is best sought in intelligent causes. [...] Even so, neither algorithms nor natural laws are capable of producing information. [...] To see that natural causes cannot account for CSI is straightforward. [...] Natural causes are therefore incapable of generating CSI. [...] CSI demands an intelligent cause. Natural causes will not do.
Supernatural (first sense) is a word for that which is not natural. Intelligence is the supernatural source of complex specified information. Tom English
Roger Innes wrote back: In the USA the the vast majority of groups that I am aware of that are pushing the teaching of intelligent design are affiliated with conservative Christian churches, which is why I said this was promoting one faith over another. There are many other religious faiths in this country that recognize that intelligent design is NOT science, thus do not support teaching it in the context of a science course. Clearly if we force schools to teach intelligent design as science, we are favoring one faith over another. You are correct, though, in that I should have also stated that there are other conservative religious faiths that do not support the teaching of evolution in schools. My main objection to the teaching of intelligent design as science is that it, by definition, is not a theory that can be tested by the scientific process. Evolution can. This is why ID should not be taught in science class. It would be fine to teach in the context of a religious studies class. dodgingcars
Tom, I think I'm slow, because I didn't get a word you said. I didn't realize that a human could be a supernatural cause. dodgingcars
But because ID technically leaves room for any designer, even an alien life that exists within our space/time and operates by the laws of nature, then how is ID not science even by the definition that many say excludes it?
First, I should mention that I use the terms natural and supernatural as most of the world does, not as ID advocates prefer. Methodological naturalism is the notion that all natural phenomena can be explained in terms of matter, energy, and their interactions. Thus in established scientific usage, there is precious little distinction between naturalism and materialism. The ID community's deviation from this usage seems more like an attempt to win court cases than to communicate effectively with the scientific and philosophical communities. Even when the designer is human, ID holds that the designing intelligence is a supernatural source of information. Due to the intelligence's injection of information into the natural world, events occur that purely natural forces almost certainly would not have caused. I have never seen an explanation or hypothesis of what medium might transmit the information, and this adds to the overall supernatural character of intelligent design. To put this in Christian terms, intelligence is much like spirit. Humans, created in the image of God, design as God designs. Tom English
ID is fundamentally a study of the mind’s effect on the outside world Doesn't that just make ID the same thing as psychology or cognitive science? But that’s no reason to exclude it from classrooms as a violation of the Establishment Clause. The scientific method isn’t science, either. It’s the philosophy which forms the foundation of scientific investigation; yet it’s not banned from science classrooms. This is a good point. I got myself into a bit of hot water over at Pharyngula during the Dover trial because I'd argued that ID isn't clearly religious, and there's no violation of the Establishment Clause. So if the exclusion of ID from public school stands or falls on the Establishment Clause (as interpreted through Edwards vs. Aguillard), it's a weak case in general. I do think that the Kitzmiller decision was appropriate, but only because the testimony by the school board members who proposed the statement indicagted that they supported ID out of religious motives. But any future case of ID in schools will not be able to use Kitzmiller as precedent if the motives for presenting ID can be shown to be non-religious. Any future exclusion of ID from public school science curricula will have to be justified on the grounds that public schools should not advocate science which is not accepted by the vast majority of practicioners in that field. There are skeptics about the Big Bang, but we won't teach that in public schools; there are skeptics about whether DNA is always required for life (e.g. "prions"), but we won't teach that. Etc. However, it's extremely difficult to draw a line: this is accepted science, this isn't. And the fact is that it's not illegal to teach a scientific theory which is not accepted by the majority of scientists in that field. Of course, why would you want to? But whatever the reason, it's not illegal. And making it illegal is clearly a terrible idea. So the case for excluding ID from public schools is not very strong, even in the wake of Kitzmiller. Carlos
I’m curious why you’re a fence sitter on it’s science status. If it’s neither religious nor science, what is it? Philosophy?
ID is fundamentally a study of the mind's effect on the outside world, and even if mental states can be reduced to physical states (which I doubt), I don't think they could ever be subjected to the same sort of third-person analysis and predictability that other physical phenomena can. If ID is not science, I think it's because of this. Inability to detect a designer and designing methods as a reason that ID should not be called science is rubbish. To answer your question, yes, if it's not science, it's philosophy. But that's no reason to exclude it from classrooms as a violation of the Establishment Clause. The scientific method isn't science, either. It's the philosophy which forms the foundation of scientific investigation; yet it's not banned from science classrooms. crandaddy
Dodgingcars, Please keep us up to date on Dr. Roger Innes response to your question. It is the central rhetorical strategy that I am trying to understand in my thesis paper. I have a hunch, if you associate the two ID and Religion, you relegate it to mere phancy instead of observation. rpf_ID
I think the primary argument that ID is non science, concerns whether intelligence present before intelligent beings have evolved is "natural". If ID is necessary to explain any form of life in our Universe, then intelligence creating life must be outside our "natural" Universe. I would argue that ID uses only natural evidence and as such it is science. Is relativity "natural"? It must be present at the birth of the universe. Is maths "natural"? idnet.com.au
"I’m one ID supporter who’s a fence-sitter on the science/nonscience status of ID, but I can confidently say that it’s not Christian and it’s not religion." I'm curious why you're a fence sitter on it's science status. If it's neither religious nor science, what is it? Philosophy? And I guess one could argue that it depends on how you define science... because some would say that the modern definition of science would have to exclude an outside force on nature. But because ID technically leaves room for any designer, even an alien life that exists within our space/time and operates by the laws of nature, then how is ID not science even by the definition that many say excludes it? But then, I prefer a broader definition of science. dodgingcars
Why is searching for and identifying evidence of design in nature unscientific? religious? Christian? Is the same true for SETI? Archeology?”.
I\'m one ID supporter who\'s a fence-sitter on the science/nonscience status of ID, but I can confidently say that it\'s not Christian and it\'s not religion. \"Intelligent Design is the study of patterns in nature that are best explained as the result of intelligence.\"--William Dembski Where is the Christian God or any other supernatural entity in that definition? Why is the Christian God or any other supernatural entity necessary for ID to make sense? Don\'t let \'em resort to red herrings. Make \'em answer. They can\'t do it. crandaddy
I sent one of the interviewees in their video an email: Dr. Roger Innes... "In your interview you say that teaching intelligent design in schools would be wrong because it would be teaching one faith: Christianity. Would you care to explain how intelligent design teaches Christianity? I'm sure the Jewish and Muslim supporters of intelligent design would be surprised to hear this. So would atheist turned deist Anthony Flew as well as many others who don't identify themselves as Christians. I'm curious if you really know what ID is when you make claims/comments like that. ID does not evoke Jesus (the central person of the Christian faith) nor does it evoke God. ID simply states that there is evidence of design in nature. It does not address who the designer is. Just as the Big Bang states that there was a beginning to the universe, but does not discuss who or what the First Cause was. Both of those questions (who is the designer and who/what is the cause of the beginning of the universe) are left to the philosophers and theologians. Why is searching for and identifying evidence of design in nature unscientific? religious? Christian? Is the same true for SETI? Archeology?" dodgingcars
Works for me, too. It's very well-made to have been done by 8th graders. crandaddy
Works for me. dodgingcars
links not working? chunkdz

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