Intelligent Design

The latest from O’Leary’s non-materialist neuroscience blog Mindful Hack

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… what about Dolly the sheep? New vaccines? The chess computer? New antibiotics? Alternative energy sources? Yes, all these discoveries are exciting, but, as Horgan notes, they depend on existing science. They do not forge new frontiers in our understanding of our world.

Science journalist John Horgan created a minor stir a decade ago with his book, The End of Science, arguing that the major science discoveries are all behind us. Now that was hardly a popular thesis. The rest of my column on John Horgan and the “End of Science” is here.

10 Replies to “The latest from O’Leary’s non-materialist neuroscience blog Mindful Hack

  1. 1
    Patrick says:

    If ID becomes the reigning paradigm I expect the Big Tent to fragment into competing camps that’ll promptly start sniping at each other.

    Or perhaps peace and tranquility will rule…nah.

  2. 2
    shaner74 says:

    “Science journalist John Horgan created a minor stir a decade ago with his book, The End of Science, arguing that the major science discoveries are all behind us.”

    Yeah, reminds me of NDE: “We know life came about through an unguided process and design is just an illusion, now we’re just working out the details.”

    “Do any passengers on the ID Tardis care to speculate what ID may look like 10 years hence?”

    I don’t think reigning paradigm, but growing in leaps and bounds. I think it will reach a point were Darwinists have the tables turned on them, and they start getting heckled and ridiculed in public. I think the universities will open their doors to ID within the next five years, and then the press will catch on to the latest “fad”. I suspect Darwinian Evolution will be regarded as one of the greatest mistakes ever made in 50 or so years from now.

  3. 3
    gpuccio says:

    “On 27 April 1900, Lord Kelvin told a meeting of the Royal Institution that all the major problems of physics had been solved”

    Yes, and at the same time the great mathematician David Hilbert was sure that he was going to complete the final formalization of mathematics, until in 1931 Godel’s incompleteness theorem showed that it was impossible to do that, opening completely new scenarios to human thought.
    It seems that the end of the 19th century was mainly a time of scientific dogmatism and arrogance, while the first decades of the 21th century were a time of unparalleled advancement in scientific thought. Three of the greatest scientific ideas of all times (relativity, quantum mechanics, and the incompletess theorem) were “generated” in those years.
    Now, it seems that we are back to the attitude of one century ago, only with greater arrogance and stupidity. I hope that is a good sign for the near future…

    “I suspect Darwinian Evolution will be regarded as one of the greatest mistakes ever made in 50 or so years from now”.

    Yes, it certainly will. And may be the times are shorter, in the end. After all, on our side there is not only human intelligence (which is sometimes rare), but also the discoveries of new facts, which goes on in spite of any dogma.

  4. 4
    Ekstasis says:

    So, the Darwinist line of thinking would lead one to the exact conclusion made by John Horgan — because humans were naturally selected out for survival and breeding in a hunter/gatherer environment, our ability to understand and grasp concepts are very limited. So, the situation is analoguous to discovering continents. We may discover our final continent long before we fill in all the details of rivers and mountains. In science we will always be adding facts and finding new technological applications, but we will run out of really big, fundamental discoveries. For example, never again will we discover something so earth-shattering as the double helix, or the theory of relativity.

    What is more, since the cosmos is just one big happenstance, why should be believe that there will always be additional levels of knowledge to discover? It is just as likely that, like the Table of Elements, we will “be there, done that”.

    Now, to John Horgan, humanity’s greatest quest and purpose is pure science — the acquisition of knowledge about our world and cosmos. Who is to argue that that is not a noble quest indeed? But, through the Materialist eyes, all this could therefore come, not to a screeching halt, but to an ever-slowing grind. And then, what would be the real purpose of living? Feeling depressed yet?

    But now, let us move on to those that recognize a transcendent plain above the material. Sure, we love science too, and we may even be better at it than the Materialist, much like employees with good family lives are more productive than those who live to work. The great news is that we are not held in bondage as to whether we will run up against the bounds of either our abilities or the walls of the treasure chest of scientific knowledge.

    I would call it a win-win!!!!

  5. 5
    Janice says:

    I don’t know about neuroscience but I do think that the “established truths” of cosmology and astrophysics (with their black holes, dark matter, strings and whatnot) are likely to change very significantly in the near enough future after the current big academic wheels have shuffled off their mortal coils and no longer have influence over hiring and firing. Anyone read Arp on the red shift?

    Big Bang theory is stretched so far that it’s about to come apart. Waiting in the wings are the plasma physicists with an Ockham’s Razor-full of simpler explanations for what’s going on out there among the comets and quasars, within our own sun, in spiral galaxies and much else elsewhere.

    You could do worse than go and have a look here.

  6. 6
    TerryL says:

    I remember as a child watching an episode of “The Outer Limits” titled “The Sixth Finger,” which was all about how human intelligence will someday evolve into a quasi-godlike state.

    Which, I suppose, is perfectly true if evolutionary theory is at all correct. We are more intelligent (so we assume) than our primitive homonid forebears; therefore, in another million years or so, our descendents should be more intelligent than us, perhaps so far more intelligent we achieve what Teilhard called “the Omega point”–a level of intelligence so advanced, mankind will meld into a super state of intellect.

    Further, since the rate of technological advancement seems to be growing at an ever-faster pace, it seems reasonable to suppose that the science underlying our technology is advancing as well–perhaps exponentially so.

    What then, of the future? Will scientific knowledge increase at an ever-faster rate? Or are there limits?

    The story of Lord Kelvin, however, illustrates the dangers of overconfidence. Every generation holds itself at the height of wisdom, and sneers at the ignorance of previous ones. With that in mind, we can only imagine how future generations will laugh at how–how we were just so positive that evolution was true. Denyse’s admonition that we should temper our expectations about what science is able to accomplish is, therefore, a proper one.

    More to the point, evolution is NOT true–at least not in the blind, undirected, naturalistic form it is currently purported to be. So that means that it is not a given that science/technology/intelligence will continue to grow and grow. It is therefore perfectly plausible that though existing sciences may continue to be refined, the stock of new scientific frontiers is finite.

    This is not so much the end of science as the realization of its limits.

  7. 7
    austinite says:

    Janice – forgive me for being so blunt, but most of that page you link to is flat out wrong. Electrical forces having nothing to do with dust devils on Mars, volcanoes on Io, black marks on comets, the changing colors of stars, or, quite frankly, anything else mentioned on the page.

    There isn’t a shred of scientific evidence to support any of those claims.

  8. 8
    Janice says:

    austinite,

    There isn’t a shred of scientific evidence to support any of those claims.

    I think there are at least some shreds of evidence. For instance, before the Deep Impact comet experiment a fellow named Wallace Thornhill (one of the leading lights in the electric universe crowd) made some predictions about what would occur. He turned out to be right whereas the NASA people were surprised because their predictions failed. See here.

    Since you were so adamant that these ideas are “flat out wrong” I wondered if I’d been too credulous so I went looking for criticisms of the electric universe idea. In the 10 pages of google results I checked through I found that what criticism exists comes from one person. This is Dr Tim Thompson, a physicist, who describes himself as an, “off & on member of the Skeptics Society, … [and] a committed opponent of pseudoscience.” He has also written for talk.origins. Maybe that means something. Maybe it doesn’t.

    I don’t know if the electric universe theory is right or wrong in some or all of the rest of its parts but considering the results of the Deep Impact experiment I’m keeping an open mind and awaiting further developments with interest.

  9. 9
    J. Parker says:

    Janice, a woman after my own heart! Are the individuals who run Uncommon descent guilty of being pots calling the kettle black? Doesn’t it state on the home page here:

    Materialistic ideology has subverted the study of biological and cosmological origins so that the actual content of these sciences has become corrupted.

    I would direct interested parties to this link:

    http://www.holoscience.com/index.php

    Just as Bohm sees an “implicate order”, the electric paradigm sees an interconnected, “holographic” universe — certainly not materialist! 🙂

  10. 10
    J. Parker says:

    Sorry, I’m back with final thoughts on this topic. I just discovered this essay in The Telegraph:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/art.....ogri13.xml

    The heart of dark matter

    Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 21/01/2007

    Robert Hanks reviews The Universe: a Biography by John Gribbin

    When you come to think about it, it’s a puzzle why Creationists spend so much energy attacking Darwinism. After all, Darwin’s account of evolution by random mutation and natural selection has an underlying logic easily grasped by the layman (in outline, that is; once you get into the technicalities of population genetics and DNA, the difficulties swiftly multiply).

    And supporting evidence is readily available – in museums, zoos, even from watching dogs in the park. If ever a scientific theory was acceptable to the general public, this is it – hence the popularity of Darwinian science writers such as Richard Dawkins, Steve Jones and the late Stephen Jay Gould.

    No, if I were trying to sell the Genesis story – strictly, stories – I would concentrate my fire on the cosmologists and physicists, whose version of the beginning of things is speculative, riven with controversies and hiatuses, and deeply confusing. This is not to cast aspersions on John Gribbin, whose The Universe: a Biography is, I suspect, as clear an account of current thinking on the subject as we are likely to get; it’s just that this is not saying a great deal.

    Wallace Thornhill writes:

    Why won’t people trust their own judgement? If something doesn’t make sense, perhaps it is just nonsense.

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