Here are two quotes by Professor Steven Goldberg, Chairman of the Department of Sociology, City University of New York, on: 1. the failure of demarcation criteria of "science" and 2. Darwinian theory's "central hypothesis" ("survival of the fittest") is a "tautology", i.e.
"tautology, n. (from Greek tautos the same, logos that which is said) a repetition of, or saying the same as, something already said." (Vesey G. & Foulkes P., "Collins Dictionary of Philosophy," HarperCollins: Glasgow UK, 1990, p.281).
"tautology ... 1 (in grammar) a pleonasm, redundancy of expression, needless repetition, as in `to descend down' ... 2 (in logic) a formula which takes the value true for all assignments of truth-values to its atomic expressions. ... Also, a statement in ordinary language which exemplifies a tautological formula ... `It is raining or it is not raining' is said to be a tautology ... " (Mautner T., "The Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy," Penguin: London, 2000, p.556. Emphasis original).
"tautology ... In more informal contexts a tautology is often thought of as a proposition that `says nothing', or merely repeats a definition." (Blackburn S., "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy," Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, 1996, p.373).
"tautology ... a tautology is, said to be true in virtue of form ... Since tautologies do not exclude any logical possibilities they are sometimes said to be `empty' or `uninformative'; and there is a tendency even to deny that they are genuine propositions and that knowledge of them is genuine knowledge. ... Tautologies ... are sometimes said to be `useless,' ... " (Audi R., ed., "The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy," Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1996, pp.788-789. Emphasis original).
In the first quote of Goldberg, he points out that, "The search for a rigorous criterion for demarcating the scientific from the [nonscientific] ... has been a major quest in the philosophy of science" but "it is now generally accepted that we can never have a perfectly rigorous demarcation criterion":
"The search for a rigorous criterion for demarcating the scientific from the metaphysical and ungroundable has been a major quest in the philosophy of science in this century. Some would even say that the discovery of an ironclad method for severing the scientific from the metaphysical is the very purpose of the philosophy of science. Nonetheless, it is now generally accepted that we can never have a perfectly rigorous demarcation criterion. Similarly, it is generally agreed that science can never have at its disposal a method for arbitrating competing scientific theories possessing the persuasive force that logic possesses in mathematics. It may be that both the demarcation criterion and the method of arbitration owe their impossibility to the fact that science, unlike mathematics, does not derive its truthfulness solely from its own internal consistency, but from an external system (`nature') as well." (Goldberg S., "When Wish Replaces Thought: Why So Much of What You Believe Is False," Prometheus Books: New York NY, 1992, p.155).
This means that Darwinist attempts to dismiss ID as "not science", e.g. in the Dover case:
"Arguing that intelligent design is a religious theory, not science, Rothschild ..." ("Court Tackles 'Intelligent Design'," CBS, Sept. 26, 2005);are false. And what's more this would be known to be false by philosophers of science like Pennock and Forrest, because this was part of the fallout from the 1982 Arkansas "balanced treatment" trial when philosopher of science Michael Ruse managed to persuade Judge Overton that creationism is not science on the basis of various demarcation criteria. Ruse was afterwards strongly criticised by another leading philosopher of science, Larry Laudan, for "perpetuating and canonizing a false stereotype of what science is and how it works" and observing that the use of such arguments "raise[d] grave doubts about that community's intellectual integrity":
"Witold J. Walczak, legal director of the A.C.L.U. of Pennsylvania, said the plaintiffs would call six experts in history, theology, philosophy of science and science to show that no matter the perspective, `intelligent design is not science because it does not meet the ground rules of science ..." ("A Web of Faith, Law and Science in Evolution Suit," The New York Times, September 26, 2005);
"Robert T. Pennock, a professor of science and philosophy at Michigan State University, testified ... "Intelligent design wants ... doesn't really fall within the purview of science." ("Witness: 'Intelligent design' not science," CNN, September 28, 2005);
"Theologian says intelligent design is religion," MSNBC, Sept. 30, 2005; "Intelligent design" is vastly similar to creationism and should be taught as religion, not science ... theology professor John F. Haught said ...");
"The victory in the Arkansas case was hollow, for it was achieved only at the expense of perpetuating and canonizing a false stereotype of what science is and how it works. If it goes unchallenged by the scientific community, it will raise grave doubts about that community's intellectual integrity. No one familiar with the issues can really believe that anything important was settled through anachronistic efforts to revive a variety of discredited criteria for distinguishing between the scientific and the non-scientific. Fifty years ago, Clarence Darrow asked, a propos the Scopes trial, `Isn't it difficult to realize that a trial of this kind is possible in the twentieth century in the United States of America?' We can raise that question anew, with the added irony that, this time, the pro-science forces are defending a philosophy of science which is, in its way, every bit as outmoded as the `science' of the creationists." (Laudan L., "Science at the Bar-Causes for Concern," (1982), in Ruse M., ed., "But is it Science?: The Philosophical Question in the Creation/Evolution Controversy," Prometheus Books: Amherst NY, 1996, p.355).Laudan (and remember this was over 20 years ago) wrote that the question, "What makes a belief ... scientific ... is both uninteresting and ... intractable" and that "If we would stand up and be counted on the side of reason, we ought to drop terms like ...`unscientific' from our vocabulary; they are just hollow phrases which do only emotive work for us":
"Through certain vagaries of history, some of which I have alluded to here, we have managed to conflate two quite distinct questions: What makes a belief well founded (or heuristically fertile)? And what makes a belief scientific? The first set of questions is philosophically interesting and possibly even tractable, the second question is both uninteresting and, judging by its checkered past, intractable. If we would stand up and be counted on the side of reason, we ought to drop terms like `pseudoscience' and `unscientific' from our vocabulary; they are just hollow phrases which do only emotive work for us. As such, they are more suited to the rhetoric of politicians and Scottish sociologists of knowledge than to that of empirical researchers. Insofar as our concern is to protect ourselves and our fellows from the cardinal sin of believing what we wish were so rather than what there is substantial evidence for (and surely that is what most forms of `quackery' come down to), then our focus should be squarely on the empirical and conceptual credentials for claims about the world. The `scientific' status of those claims is altogether irrelevant." (Laudan L., "The Demise of the Demarcation Problem," (1983), in Ruse M., ed., "But is it Science?: The Philosophical Question in the Creation/Evolution Controversy," Prometheus Books: Amherst NY, 1996, p.349).Since philosophers of science Pennock and Forrest must know this, it is difficult to see how they are not effectively perjuring themselves, i.e "...under oath ... in any proceeding before ... any court ... of the United States knowingly makes any false material declaration ..."). It seems they are following the advice of another philosopher of science, Philip L. Quinn, "to use the bad effective argument" even though it leads to "intellectual corruption" and "moral corruption":
"It sometimes happens that the best arguments one can give in support of a view are not going to be effective and the most effective arguments one can give are not going to be good. After all, decision- makers are sometimes too busy to master complex arguments. Then, too, they can be prejudiced or even stupid. When one is aware that this is the situation-and I suspect this is rather common-then one confronts the philosopher's dilemma. One horn looks roughly like this. Convinced of the overall rightness of ones position, one opts to present the effective bad argument. Each time one does this, one's hands get a little bit dirtier. At first one is painfully sensitive to even small compromises that one knows to be violations of one's intellectual integrity, but gradually numbness of conscience sets in. At last, when presenting the effective bad argument has become easy and habitual-second nature, as it were-one's hands have become dirty beyond all cleansing and one suffers from a thoroughgoing corruption of mind. The other horn looks roughly like this. Concerned to preserve one's integrity at all costs, one resolves never to present the effective bad argument. One always presents the best argument one can for the position one thinks most nearly right, and one's hands remain clean. But frequently these good arguments fail to persuade or carry the day, and gradually one's credibility and effectiveness wane. At last, when one has an established track record of failure, the decision-makers conclude that one is of no use to them, and one is unceremoniously cast aside. ... Maybe this is a way in which we could manage to have our cake and eat it too. For a short period one might engage in giving bad effective arguments without being thoroughly corrupted. Then one could retreat back to the academy to wash one's moderately soiled hands. After having one's intellectual integrity restored and reinforced, one might then be ready to repeat the cycle. ... So there may well be circumstances in which only the bad effective argument will work against them [the creationists] in the political or legal arenas. If there are, then I think, though I come to this conclusion reluctantly, it is morally permissible for us to use the bad effective argument, provided we continue to have qualms of conscience about getting our hands soiled. But I also believe we must be very careful not to allow ourselves to slide all the way down the slippery slope to intellectual corruption. Perhaps, if we divide up the labor so that no one among us has to resort to the bad effective argument too frequently, we can succeed in resisting effectively without paying too high a price in terms of moral corruption." (Quinn P.L., "Creationism, Methodology, and Politics," in Ruse M., ed., "But is it Science?: The Philosophical Question in the Creation/Evolution Controversy," Prometheus Books: Amherst NY, 1996, pp.397-398)
In the second quote of Goldberg (which I will break up because it is too long), he explains that "Darwinian theory ... faces an even more severe problem [than "Freudian theory"]: Its central hypothesis that the `fittest' species survive is ungroundable ... by virtue of tautology":
"Classical Darwinian theory, in the view of many logicians, faces an even more severe problem: Its central hypothesis that the `fittest' species survive is ungroundable, and therefore `unscientific,' by virtue of tautology. (The summarization of Darwinian theory as `survival of the fittest' was Herbert Spencer's, but Darwin acknowledged the accuracy of this view and preferred it to his own, `natural selection.') The problem with Darwinian theory, according to these logicians, is the fact that `fittest' is defined in terms of survival. If dachshunds survive and dinosaurs don't, then dachshunds are declared to have been fit; if dinosaurs survive and dachshunds don't, then dinosaurs are declared to have been fit. The same problem obtains within species that does between species: those dachshunds, donkeys, and doves that survived-and passed on their genes-are claimed to have done so because they were `fit,' while those dachshunds, donkeys, and doves that did not failed because they were not `fit.' This logical criticism does grant as `scientific'-though of course incorrect- such hypotheses as `survival of the biggest' or smallest or greenest. These claims are clearly falsifiable; the fact that we can say that they are incorrect demonstrates this." (Goldberg S., "When Wish Replaces Thought: Why So Much of What You Believe Is False," Prometheus Books: New York NY, 1992, p.156. Emphasis original)Goldberg seems inconsistent in claiming on the one hand, "we can never have a perfectly rigorous demarcation criterion" of what is, and is not, "scientific," yet on the other hand claiming that "Darwinian theory['s] ... central hypothesis that the `fittest' species survive is ... `unscientific'." My view is that of Laudan, that: "we ought to drop terms like ...`unscientific' from our vocabulary; they are just hollow phrases" and simply state what is the particular problem, i.e. that "Darwinian theory['s] ... central hypothesis that the `fittest' species survive is ... [a] tautology." That is, "its tautological nature precludes in principle its being tested":
"The central problem with `survival of the fittest' is that its tautological nature precludes in principle its being tested. Similarly, when applied to specific species, such claims are clearly not only testable, but often correct. But such claims are not theories of evolutionary survival in general (as is Darwin's); they are theories that explain in terms of a specified, nontautological property why one or another specified species survived and another did not (or why some members of a specified species survived and other members of that species did not). In other words, no one questions the logical validity of a theory that dachshunds survived because they had specified property A, donkeys because they had specified property B, etc. (The same can be said for a theory that those dachshunds that possessed and passed on the gene for property A survived, while those that did not, did not.) Many attempts to rebut the logical criticism we discuss mistakenly invoke such theories of the survival of a specific species. Such rebuttals prove that which need not be proved; no one ever claimed that there is any logical problem with theories of the survival of specific species (or members of a specific species). Such theories are unobjectionable as long as the property seen as being responsible for survival is defined independently of survival." (Goldberg, 1992, pp.156-157. Emphasis original)Of course if Darwinists claim that not being testable invalidates a theory as not being scientific, as they do claim - falsely (Behe, 2000; "Dembski, 2001) of ID, e.g. "... for a theory to be `scientific,' it must provide the basis for testable hypotheses. ... Intelligent design offers no testable hypotheses and, instead, offers only an explanation for observations of complex structures and phenomena in biology that must be taken on faith." ("Intelligent Design not science," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, August 17, 2005); "The National Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science have both concluded that there is no scientific basis for intelligent design ... because [it is ] not testable by the methods of science" ("Bush endorses 'intelligent design'," Boston Globe, August 2, 2005); "Miller said, `Intelligent design is not a testable theory in any sense and as such it is not accepted by the scientific community.'" (Lawyers argue over use of intelligent design concept in schools," CBC News, 27 Sep 2005); then it is legitimate to point out that by their own standards they invalidate their own "central hypothesis" as being not scientific.
Goldberg puts his finger on what is the tautology problem for Darwinism, namely when it "attempts to specify a property that claims to explain survival of species in general":
"However, such theories do not validate Darwin because Darwin attempts to specify a property that claims to explain survival of species in general. Since no independent property is associated with species survival in general, so the criticism goes, Darwin had to select a `property' that was no more than a word for `those who survive.' This charge is not repelled by substituting `most adaptable' or `best designed,' etc., for `fittest,' because these too are determined by survival. (That is, how do we determine that a species, or members of a species, is `most adaptable' or `best designed'? By the fact that it survived.) As the reader might guess, the argument over the scientific validity of Darwinian theory has gotten increasingly convoluted over the past century. Suffice it to say here that biologists have tended to argue that it is groundable and scientifically valid, while logicians have tended argue that it is not scientifically meaningful as the umbrella theory it is usually accepted as being. (However, even these logicians acknowledge its value as an ordering model directing the biologist to examine the requirements of survival of specific species.) Contemporary geneticists tend to agree that there was a problem when the issue concerned macroscopic properties, but argue that there are testable genetic hypotheses that describe species in general. Some contemporary logicians accept this as stated. Others accept it but see such hypotheses as a far cry from anything that could be called `Darwinian.' Still others argue that close analysis of the genetic `property' alleged to explain the survival of species in general still exposes tautology. ... The key questions determining whether the Darwinian claim meets the logical requirements of science are: (1) Is the claim one attempting to explain the survival of species in general (or members of a species in general); if the claim is attempting merely to address a given species (and if the requirement of (2) is met), then there is clearly no logical problem; and (2) Is the property specified defined nontautologically (i.e., independently of `survival'); the evidence that this requirement is met is the ability of the claim to provide a way, at least in principle, in which it can be shown to be incorrect if it is incorrect? (If it can not, then it is tautological and scientifically unacceptable; in science, if you can't lose, you can't win.)" (Goldberg, 1992, p.157. Emphasis original).That is, if Darwinian theory specified in advance, a property that was independent of survival (e.g. "biggest", or "fastest", or "smartest", etc), then it could be tested to see if either the "biggest", or the "fastest", or the "smartest", did in fact survive. And if it didn't (e.g. Darwinian theory predicted the "biggest" but the "smartest" survived) then it would have been testable (falsifiable) and would in fact have failed the test (was falsified). But what Darwinian theory effectively does is say that any of an unspecified set of possible properties, including the "biggest", the "fastest", the "smartest", etc, and then when one or more of the properties, or even a property that had not even been thought of, or was an opposite (e.g. "smallest") was found to contribute to survival, then Darwinian theory would retrospectively declare that property (or properties) to be the cause of survival! The creationist zoologist Davidheiser gives an amusing example of such an `anything and its opposite' prediction of Darwinian theory:
"Professor J.C. Fentress of the University of Rochester observed that one species of vole (a mouse-like rodent) `froze' when it observed a moving object overhead, while another species ran for cover. The species that froze in its tracks lived in the woodland, while the species which ran for cover lived in the open field. Professor Fentress told his colleagues about his observation, but he purposely reversed the facts, telling them that the woodland species ran for cover and that the meadow voles froze in their tracks. The other zoologists were able to give very elaborate and satisfactory explanations why the woodland species ran and the meadow species froze, based upon conventional ideas of evolutionary theory." (Davidheiser B., "Evolution and the Christian Faith," Presbyterian & Reformed: Nutley NJ, 1969, p.194)
As it happens, today I was browsing in a secondhand bookstore, having not yet finished this post, when I found this classic example (and so I bought the book!) of a Darwinist `explaining' that, "The crux of the [Darwinian evolution] theory is that these changes occur because, whatever is behind them, they ensure that individuals who possess the attributes tend to survive and reproduce successfully" (my emphasis):
"Briefly, Darwinian evolution is concerned with the changes in form and function that arise over succeeding generations in populations of organisms. The crux of the theory is that these changes occur because, whatever is behind them, they ensure that individuals who possess the attributes tend to survive and reproduce successfully. Those that do not, tend to leave fewer surviving offspring or none at all. ... Life's progress entails a great deal more than battling for sustenance, the vulgar meaning put on `survival of the fittest'. Nor is fitness a sort of muscularity of the playing field cum cunning of the biological `market place'. Quite simply, an individual is fit with its environment if it survives long enough to produce offspring, if its progeny are similarly fit, and on and on, as the environment perpetually changes. ... All in all, fitness is expressed in how many fertile offspring are produced (the individual's fecundity) and how likely those offspring are to survive (their viability)." (Drury S.A., "Stepping Stones: The Making of Our Home World," Oxford University Press: New York NY, 1999, p.69. My emphasis)One thing is for sure, it is impossible to test (and so falsify) a theory that has "whatever" as its underlying cause! So the Darwinists who accuse ID of being "not science" and "untestable" are being hypocritical, needing to first take the plank out of their own eye, so that they can then see clearly to remove any speck in their IDist opponent's eye." (~Matthew 7:5)
I have added the above quotes to my "Problems of Evolution" book outline, sections PE 18.104.22.168 "Evolution excludes rivals ... Use of demarcation criteria ... Failure of demarcation criteria" and PE 2.4.2 "Logical problems ... Tautology".Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol).
"Problems of Evolution"