Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Science historian asks, What kicked off the ID movement?


Michael Flannery points out that the lack of fit between Darwinism and modern genetics and molecular biology, for example, while often cited, would be just as compatible with the Third Way movement in biology—that is, non-Darwinian biologists who are not ID sympathizers.

He offers three events that he thinks boosted ID specifically: You can read about the first two for yourself at the link but you may not even have ever heard of the third:

Finally, the complete discrediting of the Vienna Circle and the logical positivists. Their principle of hard verificationism made them, in Nicholas Fotion’s words, “science-intoxicated.” As the disabilities of their extreme scientism became more manifest, being pointed out by philosophers like Willard Van Orman Quine, J. L. Austin, Michael Polanyi, and Hilary Putnam, a richer and more dynamic array of philosophical alternatives were offered. I’m not saying these thinkers were in any sense ID proponents, but I am saying they rejected the reductionist scientism that started with Comte and carried through to the 1930s and ‘40s with the logical positivist.

Michael Flannery, “What Precipitated the Intelligent Design Movement?” at Evolution News and Science Today:

In street terms, “reductionist scientism” is the sort of thing that causes people to splinter lecterns proclaiming stuff like: If we just throw enough pure Darwinism at the origin of life, we’ll crack it. And we’ll find the organ to produces consciousness while we are at it!

That sort of thing probably slows science down because it prevents people from asking orienting questions like “How do we know, apart from our belief that it ought to be so, that our assumed account of the phenomenon is a correct one?” It’s hard to solve problems that our philosophy of life prevents us from trying to really understand.

@KF, additionally, ID kicked off the whole philosophical enterprise and Western civilization, per Socrates in Phaedo: One day I heard someone reading, as he said, from a book of Anaxago- ras, and saying that it is Mind that directs and is the cause of ev- erything. I was delighted with this cause and it seemed to me good, in a way, that Mind should be the cause of all. I thought that if this were so, the directing Mind would direct everything and arrange each thing in the way that was best. If then one wished to know the cause of each thing, why it comes to be or perishes or exists, one had to find what was the best way for it to be, or to be acted upon or to act. On these premises then it befitted a man to investigate only, about this and other things, what is best... EricMH
By the way, Bob O’H is one of the biggest defenders of ID on this site. While I have not read many of his recent comments, I have not seen any comment by him that undermines ID. He is an eternal nit picker but nit picking always means the underlying concept is correct. jerry
Jerry- “The Privileged Planet” demonstrates the design inference extends beyond biology. This was pointed out several years ago and I actually discussed it here a few months ago. However, it has less traction with objectors to ID then the fine tuning argument. jerry
Dr. Behe schools the scientifically illiterate Judge John Edward Jones III Read it and weep. ET
groovamos @ 5 - I think Thibodeau was alluding to John Edward Jones III. Bob O'H
Jerry- "The Privileged Planet" demonstrates the design inference extends beyond biology. ET
Kairofocus is correct that ID is much more than evolution. I have found objectors to ID are more at a lost when one steers away from evolution and focuses mainly on the fine tuning argument and then to a lesser extent on OOL. They desperately want to conflate ID with YEC creationism. jerry
Actually, JT kairosfocus
JVL, that false to facts just so story promoted by those who ill advisedly imagine that judge "copycat" Jones made a well warranted general ruling, is manifestly false. Design thought manifestly traces to Plato at least on record, and it was in opposition to evolutionary materialism then on grounds of self-moved, intelligent, purposeful action as a foundational component of reality. In the modern era, the self-refuting nature of evolutionary materialistic scientism leads to deep dissatisfaction regardless of institutional establishment. Stir in the recognition that design is real and often leaves empirically observable, reliable signs. Add, that the cosmos is increasingly clearly fine tuned for C-Chem, aqueous medium, cell based life; known in the literature since the 1950's with more and more evidence piling up. Mix in from the same era, that the living cell has alphanumerically coded [thus, language-reflecting) DNA with algorithmic string data structures that code for proteins. Top off with how functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information beyond 500 - 1,000 bits is readily seen to come from intelligently directed configuration but is not plausible on blind chance and/or mechanical necessity on gamut of sol system to observed cosmos, and we have a far better warranted reason why the design inference would find champions in the face of a dominant, too often domineering evolutionary materialistic, scientism driven establishment. And we can see the circular arguments involved in locking out design as a serious candidate, a priori under false colours of a claimed methodological requisite. KF PS: The empirically actually observed decisive evidence for spontaneous OoL is ______, that for origin of body plans by blind watchmaker mechanisms is ____ and these won the _____ prizes. Kindly, fill in for us at up to 6,000 word feature article length. (And yes, I allude to the UD pro Darwinism challenge.) kairosfocus
ET, precisely correct. KF PS: Plato, in The Laws, Bk X documents that, and also that the roots of evolutionary materialism are similarly just as old. Evolutionary materialism failed then and it will fail now. kairosfocus
Real history says that ID traces back to Plato and Aristotle. ET
Thibodeau: “Creation” with “Design” it turns out that federal judges can see through that. Please enumerate the members of that group of judges. groovamos
Thibodeau: “Creation” with “Design” it turns out that federal judges can see through that. Random Mutation <---There’s no science there. That's right there is no science underlying "Random Mutation" because there is no empirical proof that mutations that give rise to novel form and function are indeed random. If there is please provide it, as a link. This proof would have to prove that the series of mutations would have to be not only identified as a series, but UNCORRELATED. And proven to be the source of novel form and function. Please, have at it enlighten us. groovamos
The Father of ID, Philip Johnson, was a creationist lawyer. ID was a creationist legal strategy. It didn’t work. When you take a creationism textbook and replace “God” with “Designer” and “Creation” with “Design” it turns out that federal judges can see through that. The ID “movement” produces fewer papers than the YECs do. Astrologers write more papers. There’s no science there. Jim Thibodeau
ET touche! ps: Dear atheists, Darwinism is wrong, get over it. martin_r
Science and the evidence kicked off the ID movement. That, along with the total lack of science and evidence in support of the blind watchmaker sealed the deal. ET

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