3 Replies to “Design Disquisitions: Quote of the Month-Robin Collins on Why ID isn’t Science

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    I seriously don’t see Collins concern. Atheistic Materialists have been, for several decades now, fiercely trying to falsify a transcendent origin of the universe. Trying to get back to some type of materialistic vision of universe that has always, i.e. ‘eternally’, existed. All their efforts have failed. Those concerted failed attempts at falsifying a transcendent origin of the universe is exactly what makes the ‘generic Designer’, God, scientifically testable.

    If a transcendent origin of the universe were not falsifiable, then the claim that a transcendent ‘generic’ Designer created the universe would not be science. As Popper stated:

    “In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.”
    Karl Popper – The Two Fundamental Problems of the Theory of Knowledge (2014 edition), Routledge

    If anything, and as George Ellis pointed out, it is the opponents of Intelligent Design, in frustration at their failure to falsify the transcendent origin of the universe, who have left the field of scientific inquiry and have tried to redefine science so that it no longer includes falsification as a primary criteria for doing science.

    Scientific method: Defend the integrity of physics – George Ellis & Joe Silk – 16 December 2014
    Excerpt: This year, debates in physics circles took a worrying turn. Faced with difficulties in applying fundamental theories to the observed Universe, some researchers called for a change in how theoretical physics is done. They began to argue — explicitly — that if a theory is sufficiently elegant and explanatory, it need not be tested experimentally, breaking with centuries of philosophical tradition of defining scientific knowledge as empirical. We disagree. As the philosopher of science Karl Popper argued: a theory must be falsifiable to be scientific.,,,
    Pass the test
    We agree with theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder: post-empirical science is an oxymoron (see go.nature.com/p3upwp and go.nature.com/68rijj). Theories such as quantum mechanics and relativity turned out well because they made predictions that survived testing. Yet numerous historical examples point to how, in the absence of adequate data, elegant and compelling ideas led researchers in the wrong direction, from Ptolemy’s geocentric theories of the cosmos to Lord Kelvin’s ‘vortex theory’ of the atom and Fred Hoyle’s perpetual steady-state Universe.
    The consequences of overclaiming the significance of certain theories are profound — the scientific method is at stake (see go.nature.com/hh7mm6). To state that a theory is so good that its existence supplants the need for data and testing in our opinion risks misleading students and the public as to how science should be done and could open the door for pseudoscientists to claim that their ideas meet similar requirements.
    What to do about it? Physicists, philosophers and other scientists should hammer out a new narrative for the scientific method that can deal with the scope of modern physics. In our view, the issue boils down to clarifying one question: what potential observational or experimental evidence is there that would persuade you that the theory is wrong and lead you to abandoning it? If there is none, it is not a scientific theory.

    A few relevant quotes:

    Faith, Fact, and False Dichotomies – Austin L. Hughes – 2015
    Excerpt: Coyne issues the following challenge to his readers: “Over the years, I’ve repeatedly challenged people to give me a single verified fact about reality that came from scripture or revelation alone and then was confirmed only later by science or empirical observation.” I can think of one example, which comes from the work of St. Thomas Aquinas (whose writings Coyne badly misrepresents elsewhere in his book). Based on his exposure to Aristotle and Aristotle’s Arab commentators, Aquinas argued that it is impossible to know by reason whether or not the universe had a beginning. But he argued that Christians can conclude that the universe did have a beginning on the basis of revelation (in Genesis). In most of the period of modern science, the assumption that the universe is eternal was quietly accepted by virtually all physicists and astronomers, until the Belgian Catholic priest and physicist Georges Lemaître proposed the Big Bang theory in the 1920s. Coyne does not mention Lemaître, though he does mention the data that finally confirmed the Big Bang in the 1960s. But, if the Big Bang theory is correct, our universe did indeed have a beginning, as Aquinas argued on the basis of revelation.,,,

    “The Bible is frequently dismissed as being anti-scientific because it makes no predictions. Oh no, that is incorrect. It makes a brilliant prediction. For centuries it has been saying there was a beginning. And if scientists had taken that a bit more seriously they might have discovered evidence for a beginning a lot earlier than they did.”
    John Lennox

    ,,, ‘And if you’re curious about how Genesis 1, in particular, fairs. Hey, we look at the Days in Genesis as being long time periods, which is what they must be if you read the Bible consistently, and the Bible scores 4 for 4 in Initial Conditions and 10 for 10 on the Creation Events’
    Hugh Ross – Latest Scientific Evidence for God’s Existence – video 56:14 minute mark

    “My argument,”/Dr. Penzias concluded, “is that the best data we have are exactly what I would have predicted, had I had nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole.”
    Dr. Arno Penzias, Nobel Laureate in Physics – co-discoverer Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation – as stated to the New York Times on March 12, 1978

    “Certainly there was something that set it all off,,, I can’t think of a better theory of the origin of the universe to match Genesis”
    Robert Wilson – Nobel laureate – co-discoverer Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation
    – Fred Heeren, Show Me God (Wheeling, Ill.: Daystar, 2000),

    “The question of ‘the beginning’ is as inescapable for cosmologists as it is for theologians…there is no doubt that a parallel exists between the big bang as an event and the Christian notion of creation from nothing”
    George Smoot and Keay Davidson, Wrinkles in Time, 1993, p.189. – George Smoot is a Nobel laureate in 2006 for his work on COBE

    “Now we see how the astronomical evidence supports the biblical view of the origin of the world. The details differ, but the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same: the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy.”
    Robert Jastrow – Founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute – ‘God and the Astronomers’ – Pg.15 – 2000

    Might I also suggest to Dr. Collins that his ‘internal workings’ complaint against a ‘generic’ transcendent Designer is not quite as scientifically inexplicable as he presupposes?

    Double Slit, Quantum-Electrodynamics, and Christian Theism

  2. 2
    LocalMinimum says:

    …the major problem I see with ID’s claim that we should include the hypothesis of a transcendent or generic designer as part of science is that it is not what I have called scientifically tractable.

    Evolutionism posits a transcendent, generic designer; just a mindless one.

    What technical specifics do we have on the process of evolution? What set of X in RM + NS + X is official? What specifics and predictions do we derive from such? Historically, when X is proven insufficient, don’t we always invent an additional term Y?

    Evolution happened because reasons that it can somehow interpret and respond to without ever separately, explicitly structuring; that is the sum of the theory.

    It’s the demand that the working design processes of a designer will necessarily be structured implicitly in the operation of the systems it’s building and their interaction with the environment; with results we intelligent designers still dream of mimicking.

    Part of what ID sets out to show is that this is practically impossible. You need context structuring and recursive heuristic navigation processes as well as trial and result memory independent from the operations and data of the result space; that can pick and reduce general N-dimensional problems to singular contexts and yield one-dimensional evaluations with trial space elimination a la Dawkins’ Weasel; and do so in an order that moves towards a remote, Nth order goal.

    Such a process does not naturally arise by the operations and data of a result space lacking at least an equally sophisticated and so capable precursor configuration that can modulate such a descendant/product structure. Thermodynamically unnecessary configurations consistently reduce to the thermodynamically necessary in this little universe of ours. Just as in Conway’s Game of Life.

  3. 3
    Origenes says:

    Joshua G: Collins recognises that ID doesn’t necessitate supernatural design and can just appeal to generic intelligence, and also admits that non-transcendent, extra-terrestrial design hypotheses don’t face this problem. But ID does in fact allow such hypotheses and so to my mind Collins objection falls.

    I agree and would like to add that ID, contrary to what Collins believes, does not postulate a “transcendent designer.”

    Now a short comment on naturalistic science which Collins aims to protect from ID.
    Even science which attempts to abide by the rules of methodological naturalism cannot exist without intelligent design. Absent intelligence — in case science is exclusively produced by blind physical processes — we would never be able to tell if a scientific statement is true or not. If all our scientific beliefs are suspect — because blind physical processes produced them — we cannot judge between truth and falsity, since any such judgment would be just as suspect as what it seeks to adjudicate.
    Put another way, if all our beliefs inside the circle are suspect, we cannot judge between truth and falsity, since any such judgment would be just as suspect as what it seeks to adjudicate. We would have to seek another argument, another chain of reasoning, another set of beliefs, by which we can judge the judgment—and a third set to judge the judgment of the judgment, ad infinitum. But if blind physical processes exhausts reality, then at no point can we step out of the circle to a transcendent standpoint that would allow us to reject some beliefs as tainted while remaining untainted ourselves.

    Bottom line, the whole attempt of science by methodological naturalism is a non-starter.

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