Thursday, August 24, 2006


My letter on ID to The New York Times generated this fragment from a long lecture/email:

There is no data for “design”. In fact, there cannot be: “design” is an intellectual, not a physical, activity. Design manifests itself in the physical world, and Dembski and Behe look at physical structures and conclude design. That is not science.

This perfectly illustrates the point made in my argument. The Darwinists are a priori committed to methodological naturalism. Or: "What my net don't catch ain't fish" to use the colloquial. ID isn't science because it doesn't terminate the explanation with a merely physical process. That begs the question and refuses to consider the actual evidence for design.


Weekend Fisher said...

What always surprises me in that type of comment is that they manage to miss the fact that there is, by that line of argument, no evidence against design ...

Tom Gilson said...

This writer is amazingly forthright about saying intellectual activities are not subject to scientific investigation. That would certainly rule out any scientific design inference, but it does it by an outrageously distorted a priori definition of science. How many scientists would agree that science has nothing whatever to say about intellectual activities?

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

Stockwell writes:

"Nobody in science employs anything like Dembski's explanatory filter."

This is false. It is used in many areas, as he argues in "The Design Inference" and elsewhere.

We identify signs of design in objects known to be designed, so we can then try to indentify objects that have not been observed to be designed in their beginning. Why not apply that to DNA or the bacterial flaggelum? Yes, no human was there to observe them in their beginning. So what? If they bear the marks of design, that is enough.

To put Behe in the category of UFO nuts is guilt by association and a red herring.

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

We're not getting anywhere on this.

"It is certain Dembski's claim that there is something called "complex specified information" (CSI) which is a "mark of design". But, of course, that is merely his assertion, offered without anything resembling scientific evidence to support."

That statement is merely an assertion. Dembski argues at length for this in The Design Inference and elsewhere.

I suggest we terminate the discussion.

tm said...

The "evidence," such as it is, is apriori excluded by the materialist bent. In other words, it ain't material, ain't testable, etc. Is this question begging? Yeah, looks like it. But the pragmatist epistemologists among us are fine with that.

William Bradford said...

First of all, there is no such thing as 'marks of design.

Intelligence is, at times, revealed by the nature of a material object. So are the effects of undirected natural forces. Distinguishing between the two is the challenge of intelligent design.

William Bradford said...

Design manifests itself in the physical world, and Dembski and Behe look at physical structures and conclude design. That is not science.

This would depend on the empirical evidence offered in support of the argument. Looking at a functional genome and declaring it was generated without intelligent input is not science.