Tuesday, January 03, 2006

If ID is a theory equivalent to evolution ... #2

Repack Rider

Continued from part #1. Again, in response to your comment, to distinguish your words from mine, I prefixed them with "RR>" and bolded them.

-----Original Message -----
From: Repack Rider
To: Stephen E. Jones
Sent: Monday, December 26, 2005 1:23 AM
Subject: It's Over in Dover, But Not For Intelligent Design

RR>Finally, the ID proponents must show us how ID can be "falsified," i.e. give us an example of a hypothetical observation that would show it to be false.

See again my new ID FAQs, specifically Objections to ID ... ID cannot be falsified. There I answer this objection: 1) "all that is required to falsify ID ... is to produce a plausible explanation of how that feature [e.g. the bacterial flagellum) was produced solely by unintelligent causes"; 2) "In fact some Darwinist critics claim they already have falsified ID, which makes the claim that ID is both falsified and unfalsifiable a self-contradictory absurdity"; and 3) "Actually, the boot is on the other foot. It is not ID which is unfalsifiable but Darwinism, since if attempts to falsify ID ... fail, committed Darwinists will not then conclude that Darwinism is false and ID is true, but they will then, as a last resort, appeal to unknown (and even unknowable) unintelligent processes.

As an example, if a dog gave birth to a cat, the Theory of Evolution would be falsified. That hasn't happened yet, so the theory stands uncontradicted.

See part 1 on it being unclear what actually is "the Theory of Evolution."

This is typical of Darwinists proposing of a non-risky `test' by which (they claim) "the Theory of Evolution would be falsified". But no theory of origins claims that "a dog gave birth to a cat." Even Biblical creationism claims that plants and animals reproduce "according to their various kinds" (Genesis 1:12, 21, 24). When Karl Popper proposed falsifiability as a demarcation criterion of what is, and is not, "science", he meant risky tests, such that there was a real possibility that if the theory was false, it would fail the test:

"KARL POPPER PROVIDES the indispensable starting point for understanding the difference between science and pseudoscience. Popper spent his formative years in early twentieth century Vienna, where intellectual life was dominated by science-based ideologies like Marxism and the psychoanalytic schools of Freud and Adler. These were widely accepted as legitimate branches of natural science, and they attracted large followings among intellectuals because they appeared to have such immense explanatory power. Acceptance of either Marxism or psychoanalysis had, as Popper observed, the effect of an intellectual conversion or revelation, opening your eyes to a new truth hidden from those not yet initiated. Once your eyes were thus opened you saw confirming instances everywhere: the world was full of verifications of the theory. Whatever happened always confirmed it. Thus its truth appeared manifest; and unbelievers were clearly people who did not want to see the manifest truth; who refused to see it, either because it was against their class interest, or because of their repressions which were still 'un-analyzed' and crying aloud for treatment ... A Marxist could not open a newspaper without finding on every page confirming evidence for his interpretation of history; not only in the news, but also in its presentation-which revealed the class bias of the paper-and especially of course in what the paper did not say. The Freudian analysts emphasized that their theories were constantly verified by their 'clinical observations.' Popper saw that a theory that appears to explain everything actually explains nothing. If wages fell this was because the capitalists were exploiting the workers, as Marx predicted they would, and if wages rose this was because the capitalists were trying to save a rotten system with bribery, which was also what Marxism predicted. A psychoanalyst could explain why a man would commit murder - or, with equal facility, why the same man would sacrifice his own life to save another. According to Popper, however, a theory with genuine explanatory power makes risky predictions, which exclude most possible outcomes. Success in prediction is impressive only to the extent that failure was a real possibility. Popper was impressed by the contrast between the methodology of Marx or Freud on the one hand, and Albert Einstein on the other. Einstein almost recklessly exposed his General Theory of Relativity to falsification by predicting the outcome of a daring experiment. If the outcome had been other than as predicted, the theory would have been discredited. The Freudians in contrast looked only for confirming examples, and made their theory so flexible that everything counted as confirmation. Marx did make specific predictions - concerning the inevitable crises of capitalism, for example - but when the predicted events failed to occur his followers responded by modifying the theory so that it still `explained' whatever had happened. Popper set out to answer not only the specific question of how Einstein's scientific method differed from the pseudoscience of Marx and Freud, but also the more general question of what `science' is and how it differs from philosophy or religion." (Johnson P.E., "Darwin on Trial," [1991], InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, Second edition, 1993, p.147).
"falsifiability The property of a statement or theory that it is capable of being refuted by experience. In the philosophy of science of Popper falsifiability is the great merit of genuine scientific theory, as opposed to unfalsifiable pseudo-science, notably psychoanalysis and historical materialism. Popper's idea was that it could be a positive virtue in a scientific theory that it is bold, conjectural, and goes beyond the evidence, but that it had to be capable of facing possible refutation. If each and every way things turn out is compatible with the theory, then it is no longer a scientific theory; but, for instance, an ideology or article of faith." (Blackburn S., "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy," [1994], Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, 1996, p.135)
"falsifiability n. A falsifiable hypothesis is one which can be put to a test by which it could conceivably be refuted. The concept is important in Karl Popper's philosophy of science, according to which the distinctive feature of any scientific theory is that its hypotheses can be put to a test. The distinctive feature of a good scientific theory is that its hypotheses pass the test. The contrast is with pseudo-science. The adherents of a pseudo-science are able to cling to its hypotheses no matter how events turn out, because the hypotheses are not testable." (Mautner T., "The Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy," [1996], Penguin: London, Revised, 2000, p.195. Emphasis in original)
So what is needed is: 1) a risky test, 2) that is unique to, "the Theory of Evolution", such that if it failed the test, it would be falsified. The fact that Darwinists routinely propose such non-risky `tests' of "the Theory of Evolution" shows that it fits Popper's criterion of an "unfalsifiable pseudo-science".

RR>ID proponents claim that the scientific community shuts them out, without admitting that they have failed to meet even the lowest standard of testing their ideas. Despite their claims, overturning an accepted scientific claim is the fastest way to collect a Nobel Prize, and the means of doing so are well known.

That is exactly what happened to ID theorist Stephen Meyer in his ID-based paper on "The origin of biological information and the higher taxonomic categories" in the peer-reviewed journal, Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. When Darwinists discovered that an ID article had been published in a peer-reviewed journal, they forced the article to be withdrawn from the journal's webbed archives and hounded from his job the editor, evolutionary biologist Richard Sternberg.

RR>All the ID proponents have to do in order to validate their idea, which does not yet reach the level of being a theory, is to use it to explain observations of evolution, tell us how it can be falsified, and then make a prediction based on ID that is DIFFERENT from what the ToE would predict, and test it for accuracy. IF they can make predictions that are consistently more accurate than what the ToE predicts, everyone will switch over.

See above and previous.

RR>Biologists use the ToE because it is a useful tool, not because they are anti-science. No other theory explains the observations and has been shown to be a more accurate predictor of biological events, and until something more useful comes along,there is only one "theory" to choose from.

See above and previous on "the ToE".

ID does not deny that evolutionary theories may be useful tools. As I responded to a journalist, "ID is not necessarily opposed to evolution ... [except] when [it] ... denies that there is design in nature:

As for "ID versus evolution," ID is not necessarily opposed to evolution if by "evolution" is meant microevolution, such as insects becoming resistant to insecticide, changes in the frequency of light and dark moths in a population, or the lengths of the beaks of finches on the Galapagos islands. ID is not even necessarily opposed to universal common ancestry. One of ID's leaders, Professor Michael Behe, has stated, "I find the idea of common descent (that all organisms share a common ancestor) fairly convincing, and have no particular reason to doubt it"[3]. Another ID leader, Dr William Dembski, has pointed out that, "intelligent design is compatible with ... the most far-ranging evolution (e.g., God seamlessly melding all organisms together into one great tree of life)."[4] I myself accept universal common ancestry.[5] ID is only necessarily opposed to "evolution" when the latter denies that there is design in nature, e.g. Darwinian evolution (or Darwinism), as in the title of leading Darwinist, Professor Richard Dawkins' book, "The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design" (Norton, New York, 1986. My emphasis).

RR>If ID has failed to make an impact on the scientific community, it is only because those who adhere to it have failed to make their case in the same manner that the ToE has. They have had nearly 150 years to do so, and I have stopped holding my breath.

The ID movement as such has only existed since 1984, with the publication of Thaxton, Bradley and Olsen's "The Mystery of Life's Origin," and has only really reached a critical mass in 1996 with the publication of Mike Behe's "Darwin's Black Box". And if there is one thing that ID has done in that comparatively short time, and that is "make an impact on the scientific community"!

But the reason that ID is being suppressed by the science establishment is because of the atheist/agnostic personal philosophy of 90-95% of its members:

"The 1998 NAS members perhaps provide a more immaculate sample of the elite than Leuba's starred entries did. Congress created the National Academy of Sciences in 1863, and after naming its first members Congress empowered them and their successors to choose all later members. Its current membership of 1,800 remains the closest thing to peerage in American science. And their responses validate Leuba's prediction of the beliefs of topflight scientists generations from his time. Disbelief among NAS members responding to our survey exceeded 90 percent. The increase may simply reflect that they are more elite than Leuba's `greater' scientists, but this interpretation would also please Leuba. NAS biologists are the most skeptical, with 95 percent of our respondents evincing atheism and agnosticism ... The NAS is mindful of its obligation to serve the public, but it can be a delicate course to maneuver. Disbelief and belief have often become a major public relations issue for science in religious America. ... Yet, to its credit, in 1998 the NAS issued a report proudly promoting the teaching of evolution in public school. `Whether God exists or not is a question about which science is neutral,' the report cautiously begins, before launching its broadside of scientific arguments against religious objections to teaching evolution. But the irony is remarkable: a group of specialists who are nearly all nonbelievers-and who believe that science compels such a conclusion-told the public that `science is neutral' on the God question." (Larson E.J. & Witham L., "Scientists and Religion in America," Scientific American, Vol. 281, No. 3, September 1999, pp.78-83, p.81)
The atheist Darwinist historian William Provine candidly admitted that "the great majority of modern evolutionary biologists now are atheists or something very close to that":
"My observation is that the great majority of modern evolutionary biologists now are atheists or something very close to that. Yet prominent atheistic or agnostic scientists publicly deny that there is any conflict between science and religion. Rather than simple intellectual dishonesty, this position is pragmatic. In the United States, elected members of Congress all proclaim to be religious. Many scientists believe that funding for science might suffer if the atheistic implications of modern science were widely understood." (ProvineW.B., Review of "Trial and Error: The American Controversy over Creation and Evolution," by Edward J. Larson, Oxford University Press: New York, 1985, Academe, Vol. 73, January/February 1987, pp.50-52, p.52.)
This was let slip by evolutionary zoologist Arthur Shapiro, reviewing in the pro-evolution journal Creation/Evolution an early ID book called "The Creation Hypothesis: Scientific Evidence for an Intelligent Designer" (1994). Shapiro observed in passing that if Science journal received "a paper ...which proceeds from the prior assumption of intelligent design", it would cause "the editorial board of Science [to]... convene in emergency session to decide what to do about" it (my emphasis):
"The Creation Hypothesis (InterVarsity Press, 1994) ... received a remarkably respectful review in Creation/Evolution, a strongly anticreationist journal. Reviewer Arthur Shapiro, professor of zoology at the Davis campus of the University of California, concluded with this paragraph: `I can see Science in the year 2000 running a major feature article on the spread of theistic science as a parallel scientific culture. I can see interviews with the leading figures in history and philosophy of science about how and why this happened. For the moment, the authors of The Creation Hypothesis are realistically defensive. They know their way of looking at the world will not be generally accepted and that they will be restricted for a while to their own journals. ... If they are successful, the day will come when the editorial board of Science will convene in emergency session to decide what to do about a paper which is of the highest quality and utterly unexceptionable, of great and broad interest, and which proceeds from the prior assumption of intelligent design. For a preview of that crisis, you should read this book. Of course, if you are smug enough to think `theistic science' is an oxymoron, you won't.'" (Shapiro A.N., Review of Moreland J.P., ed., "The Creation Hypothesis: Scientific Evidence for an Intelligent Designer," InterVarsity Press, 1994, Creation/Evolution, Vol. 14, No. 2, 1994, pp.36-37, in Johnson P.E., "Reason in the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law, and Education," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1995, p.239)
Now what other topic would cause such a panic reaction on the part of "the editorial board of Science"? Shapiro himself says the problem would not be the paper itself, which he envisages as being "of the highest quality and utterly unexceptionable, of great and broad interest." The problem then, to the atheist/agnostics who comprise "the editorial board of Science", is "the prior assumption of intelligent design."

While ID does not claim the designer is God (since that cannot be proved from the evidence of nature alone), these atheist/agnostics who are trying to suppress ID, demonstrate what the Apostle Paul says in Romans 1:18-20 that guilty sinners (whether scientists or not) intuitively recognise that the Designer is God, but they don't want it to be so. Therefore the suppression of ID by the overwhelmingly atheist/agnostic science establishment has nothing to do with actual science of ID, and everything to do with the individual scientists' atheistic/agnostic personal philosophy!

Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol).
"Problems of Evolution"

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