Sunday, September 09, 2007

Crisis of the University

I will be speaking on Intelligent Design at the secular university at a conference sponsored by the CS Lewis Foundation called The Crisis of the University. I am not listed as a speaker because I am not giving a plenary talk, but they assure me I am slated to speak (for 30 minutes). It is held at the University of Colorado at Boulder and held on October 5-6.

16 comments:

Sarah Scott said...

This sounds very very interesting...

Kyl said...

Dr. Groothuis,

Because your writing style is unusually sharp, I frequently recommend your blog to others. I hope that people will learn from your vigorous support of apologetics. I want to thank you for your intelligent design work. I bought Dembski’s The Design Revolution for my coworker. My coworker plans on getting a Ph.D. in mathematics. She says she is interested in Dembski’s book. She was reading the aforementioned book at her university and her instructor said something like “I want to get that book.” My coworker said that her instructor is doing some sort of major project on the intelligent design topic for an advanced degree on some subject. It is very encouraging to hear these types of stories (this is in the LA area). One of my primary interests (in addition to intelligent design) is the pro-life view. For example, I’m a strong supporter of Scott Klusendorf’s Life Training Institute. It seems to me that Klusendorf is on the cutting edge of pro-life education. Because I’m Catholic, you and I have some disagreements, but we both have a powerful desire to teach apologetics.

Kyl

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

Stockwell is deleted, since he makes no arguments and only hurls mud. Sounds like a broken record.

Kyl said...

Intelligent design arguments are sophisticated. Some people exhibit an attitude that is similar to people like Richard Dawkins (i.e., they simply try to wave sophisticated arguments away). However, people like Dawkins have dropped the ball on a variety of different topics. Go here for more information http://blog.johndepoe.com/?p=299 Tim’s comments in that link are great! Some might say that ID arguments are not sophisticated, but that is simply false. Some might say that ID scientists are ignorant, but that is simply false. There are brilliant Ph.D.s that believe in Intelligent Design. Dembski writes, “Do certain types of natural systems exhibit clear hallmarks of intelligence? This is a perfectly legitimate scientific question. Moreover, the answer to this question cannot be decided on philosophical, theological or ideological grounds but must be decided through careful scientific investigation.” This looks like it is going to be an interesting movie http://www.expelledthemovie.com/video.php it is Expelled with Ben Stein. It is great that there is going to be a movie out in addition to the sophisticated ID arguments. Dr. Norman Geisler writes, “In fact, for Darwinists to rule out Intelligent Design from the realm of science, in addition to ruling out themselves they would also have to rule out archaeology, cryptology, criminal and accident forensic investigations, and the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). These are all legitimate forensic sciences that look into the past for intelligent causes. Something must be wrong with the Darwinists’ definition of science.”

John Stockwell said...

Kyl wrote:
Go here for more information http://blog.johndepoe.com/?p=299 Tim’s comments in that link are great!


Arguments for or against the existence of God are not part of science for the simple reason that the are only arguments . Science is about formulating testable hypotheses and testing those hypotheses.

At most a "cosmological argument" tells us that our naive notions of causality break down if we run the clock backward.

Kyl wrote:
Some might say that ID scientists are ignorant, but that is simply false. There are brilliant Ph.D.s that believe in Intelligent Design.


Argument from mere claim of an unspecified authority.

Kyl wrote:
“Do certain types of natural systems exhibit clear hallmarks of intelligence? This is a perfectly legitimate scientific question.


and

Dr. Norman Geisler writes, “In fact, for Darwinists to rule out Intelligent Design from the realm of science, in addition to ruling out themselves they would also have to rule out archaeology, cryptology, criminal and accident forensic investigations, and the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). These are all legitimate forensic sciences that look into the past for intelligent causes. Something must be wrong with the Darwinists’ definition of science.”



That would Dr. Norman Geisler who is listed as a "philosopher and Christian apologist". He has no expertise in scientific matters and his opinions carry no more weight than those of any other layman unschooled in the sciences.

At any rate, his argument is false, as in the fields he lists it is the scientific method based on knowledge of manufacturing processes and testable hypotheses resting entirely on a knowledge of, or hypotheses about the mechanism of origin of the unknowns in each case.

Indeed, there are only references to these fields in generality made by ID proponents. There are no specific case studies made to support the notion that these fields employ anything like ID theory. This is why the scientific community does not take the claims of the ID community seriously.

Kyl said...

John writes, “At most a "cosmological argument" tells us that our naive notions of causality break down if we run the clock backward.”

How could you have missed my primary point?

John writes, “He has no expertise in scientific matters and his opinions carry no more weight than those of any other layman unschooled in the sciences.”

Your words about Geisler were predictable. Are we supposed to believe that there aren’t any ID supporters that have expertise in scientific matters? Are we supposed to believe that Geisler (a philosopher) is the only person that supports ID? The answer is no.

John writes, “This is why the scientific community does not take the claims of the ID community seriously.”

William Dembski writes, “Not having a particularly optimistic view of human nature, I expect Darwinists will continue business as usual, misrepresenting intelligent design as long as they can get away with it and clinging to their monopoly over biological education as long as a cowed public will permit them. My hope for the success of intelligent design, therefore, resides not with Darwinists but with a younger generation of scholars who can dispassionately consider the competing claims of Darwinism and intelligent design.”

Kyl said...

For more information go here http://www.discovery.org/csc/topQuestions.php

(Copied from the link)

Are there established scholars in the scientific community who support intelligent design theory?

Yes. Intelligent design theory is supported by doctoral scientists, researchers and theorists at a number of universities, colleges, and research institutes around the world. These scholars include biochemist Michael Behe at Lehigh University, microbiologist Scott Minnich at the University of Idaho, biologist Paul Chien at the University of San Francisco, emeritus biologist Dean Kenyon at San Francisco State University, mathematician William Dembski at Baylor University, and quantum chemist Henry Schaefer at the University of Georgia.

And…

What is the "Dissent from Darwin" list?

Since Discovery Institute first published its Statement of Dissent from Darwin in 2001, more than 600 scientists have courageously stepped forward and signed onto a growing list of scientists of all disciplines voicing their skepticism over the central tenets of Darwin's theory of evolution… Prominent scientists who have signed the list include evolutionary biologist and textbook author Dr. Stanley Salthe, quantum chemist Henry Schaefer at the University of Georgia, and Giuseppe Sermonti the Editor of Rivista di Biologia / Biology Forum. The list also includes scientists from Princeton, Cornell, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Ohio State University, Purdue and University of Washington among others. To view the list along with other information about it go to: www.dissentfromdarwin.org

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

Stockwell has a formula:

1. If you disagree with Darwinism, you aren't a "real scientist."
2. If you are not a scientist, you are not competent to speak about Darwinism.

So, any arguments for ID made by people who don't have advanced degrees in science don't count.

Any arguments for ID made by those with advanced degrees in science aren't real scientists.

It's all very simple--and and fallacious.

John Stockwell said...

Kyl wrote:
Since Discovery Institute first published its Statement of Dissent from Darwin in 2001, more than 600 scientists have courageously stepped forward and signed onto a growing list of scientists of all disciplines voicing their skepticism over the central tenets of Darwin's theory of evolution…


This one often gets quoted by ID defenders. The argument is fallacious because it is based on several pieces of faulty reasoniing.

First of all, lets restate what the (now what 700) scientists are agreeing to


"We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged."


Ok. Right off the bat, this is not support of ID. I think that most scientists would consider that all scientific theories should be "carefully examined". Skepticism is the nature of science.

Second, it is invoking a false dichotomy that somehow "skepticism regarding evolutionary theory" automatically translates into "support for ID". It does not. Indeed, there isn't much in that statement that requires any degree of bravery to
sign, so the Discovery Institute is disingenous in its attempt to make these people seem "heroic", or
to imply that they are "putting their reputations on the line" or some such. There is nothing particularly damning nor is there anything paticularly valorous about signing this list.

Third, we have ask does a mere list of names mean anything at all? Science is not conducted by taking polls or passing up signup sheets, but through the careful study of evidence. If there
were 700 scientists publishing major papers dealing with "non-Darwinian aspects of biology" that that would be something to sit up and take notice of. There aren't. So mainstream science
is going to ignore this list.

Fourth, does the expertise of these individuals
reflect a particular level of special knowledge
regarding the theory of evolution? The answer
to that is "not so many". Print out the list yourself.
You can strike off all the non-biologists. If
not, then you are falling prey to the fallacy that
expertise in one field automatically translates
into another.

You can also strike off all the people who are not
active researchers in fields that might have
something to do with evolution. That leaves only a
handful of people on the list who might make a
relevant contribution. Indeed, what counts in science are research results, not opinions.

Finally, as a bit of humor I you might look up
"Project Steve NCSE". To poke fun at the Discovery
Institute, the National Center for Science
Eduacation has started complling its own list
of scientists named Steve (which is currently
at 826), who
recognize the scientific value of the theory of
evolution. The NCSE's list is done as joke.
(The Discovery Institute's list is also a joke, but
they haven't gotten it yet.)

John Stockwell said...

Dr. Groothuis wrote:
Stockwell has a formula:

1. If you disagree with Darwinism, you aren't a "real scientist."
2. If you are not a scientist, you are not competent to speak about Darwinism.

So, any arguments for ID made by people who don't have advanced degrees in science don't count.

Any arguments for ID made by those with advanced degrees in science aren't real scientists.

It's all very simple--and and fallacious.


Dr. Groothuis is demolishing a strawman version of Stockwell.

My general points are the following:

1) The term "Darwinism" is not a scientific term, and its use is an attempt to politicise the theory of evolution and related science as being an -ism,
which is to say a "political" or "religious position".

Evolution is a scientific theory defined and supported through a vast collection of observations and other lines of evidence, and as
such forms the cornerstone of biology.

Evolution is an active field of science delivering
new and exciting developments continually,
particularly now that scientists have the ability
to map genomes, and more directly measure the
relatedness of species.

Evolution is not a philosophy, a political position, or a religious belief.

2) The supporters of ID, as well as other more tradiitional forms of scientific creationism, who I encounter in groups such as this, to a one, are individuals who do not seem to possess a great grasp of scientific matters. This includes Dr. Groothuis, who though he has recently taken to adding "phd" to his screen name, has a PhD in philosophy, not a scientific field.

For example, the whole "debate and argumentation" system that Dr. Groothuis is used working in really does
not prepare an individual to navigate fields of science. Scientific theories cannot be taken down
by superficially clever sounding "logical" jujitsu moves, for the simple reason
that in the arena of science it is evidence and
the results of testing testable hypotheses that
counts. It takes a solid pattern of evidence to do
that.

The major publications that form the basis of the ID movement, while technical in appearance to the layman, have failed to impress the scientific community owing to the lack of supporting evidence, as well as the fact that much of it (particuarly the works of Will Dembski) are either empty assertions, scientifically irrelevant, or just plain wrong.

However, don't take my word for it, I would encourage readers of this group to educate themselves in science, and recognize
that science changes and develops, and often
throws out ideas. You don't see that in the ID movement. There is no apparent mechanism in
the ID community to critically analyse the works of
their own community. Where are the critical analyses of Dembski's books, for exampe? Not
in the ID community, that's for sure.

Dr. Groothuis, himself, apparently has never applied critical thinking to the ID movement. From his writings, it is apparent that the ID community has no failings and can do no wrong.

Kyl said...

You seem to be very concerned, John. Maybe that shows that ID is making a positive impact.

Paul D. Adams said...

Mr. Stockwell:
What is so "naive" about the notion of causality? Are you following Hume on causality? If so, have you not read Kant? His synthetic a priori nicely proposes alternatives to Hume.

Given that all notions of causality are not naive....

The cosmological argument is not merely based upon temporal infinite regression or, as you say, "naive notions of causality [that] break down if we run the clock backward."

The cosmo argument is also based upon a metaphysical intuition that states "whatever begins to exist has a cause." If (note I'm not asserting it to be fact) this intuition is rationally feasible(that is, epistemically warranted and not disconfirmed via scientific means), then it must be considered on its own philosophical merit and not merely sifted through a scientific lense.

Grant yourself the intellectual right and the rational humility to ponder this metaphysical intuition.

John Stockwell said...

paul d. adams wrote

The cosmo argument is also based upon a metaphysical intuition that states "whatever begins to exist has a cause." If (note I'm not asserting it to be fact) this intuition is rationally feasible(that is, epistemically warranted and not disconfirmed via scientific means), then it must be considered on its own philosophical merit and not merely sifted through a scientific lense.


Science has given us notions that were inconceivable to Kant and Hume, yet which are supported by considerable physical evidence.

Our notions of time have changed radically since the time of these fellows, and with that causality.

The basic notion of causality is what a mathematician would call "the assumption of partial ordering", that we can always uniquely order events. That was shot down by Einstein when he recognized that under the rules of special relativity event A could follow B in one observational frame, but event B could follow A as seen from another observational frame. To save causality, a notion of proper time (a blend of space-time coordinates defining a "worldline") had to be introduced.

The cosmology of today is in the direction of a big bang event within which time also came into existence. (Remember that space and time are now dimensions. Time is no longer an absolute yardstick of the universe.)

Mathematically all that has to happen is for the ordering principle to no longer apply. If, for example, time were a complex variable, then as every math student knows, there is no unique ordering of complex numbers.

Asking what happened "before the big bang" would be as meaningless as asking "what is north of the north pole". Can we eliminate such scenarios? Not so far. Indeed, this sort of thing has much more support than do so-called "anthropic principles".

Kevin Winters said...

Groothuis,

Isn't it also the case that ID proponents claim that anyone who doesn't accept the ID claim as at least viable is illogical, doesn't understand the evidence, etc.? If you replace "Darwinism" with "ID" I think you get about the same thing.

righteousness first said...

Kyl:

I appreciate your defense of conservative Christianity, but I fear that you are using scientific type reasoning a bit too much as I feel this will lead you down the slippery slope of Mr. Stockwell. Instead, we should pray for him.

To be fair to Mr. Stockwell, I think it would be honest of us to lay out our true agenda. I believe that the Bible is inerrant (2 Tim 3:16), I believe that God created the world (Gen 1:1), and I believe that I must defend that reality on the basis on 1 Pet 3:15. You have to understand that we have these incorruptable beliefs and science and testing things empirically will not change our mind.

You also have to admit that ID is no less ad hoc than science. We both fundamentally have to root our epistimology in something: for us it is the Word of God and it is important for us to defend it. No amount of data that you marshall, no amount of consensus will change us. In the Middle Ages people believed in a flat earth: science changes, but the word of God endureth forever.

Kyl said...

Stockwell wrote, “Print out the list yourself [www.dissentfromdarwin.org ]” Because it IS impressive, I agree that one should print it out.

Stockwell wrote, “The major publications that form the basis of the ID movement, while technical in appearance to the layman, have failed to impress the scientific community owing to the lack of supporting evidence, as well as the fact that much of it (particuarly the works of Will Dembski) are either empty assertions, scientifically irrelevant, or just plain wrong.” One could say similar things about Darwinists. For example, one could say “Darwinism merely appears technical to the layman.”

Stockwell wrote, “That would Dr. Norman Geisler who is listed as a "philosopher and Christian apologist". He has no expertise in scientific matters and his opinions carry no more weight than those of any other layman unschooled in the sciences.” I’m embarrassed for Stockwell there. I agree with Dr. Groothuis (Groothuis wrote above) that “It's all very simple--and and fallacious.” As support for ID increases, Stockwell and others are going to have increased difficulties defending Darwinism.