Monday, August 15, 2005

The fellow is trying, I suppose...

From the economist, what comes of admitting to ID:
An intelligent designer could have started this universe an instant ago with all of our memories and perceptions, all of the information present in the universe, pre-programmed to his/her/its whim. Though this sounds to me like a pretty good scientist, the story itself will never be science. It is a belief and nothing more. There is no way to ever test the proposition that the world suddenly arose as it is an instant ago and that’s what makes all the difference between science and intelligent design.
That is typical. The history of science shows no such thing as far as telic thoughts resulting in the corruption of knowledge or a descent into the rhetoric of sophists, in fact history illustrates that naturalism of the Darwinist sort turned scientia into the proto-Nazi pseudo-science of the eugenics movement. In contrast, history shows that teleological thinking can be and often is fertile ground for developing the pursuit of knowledge even if a few mistaken thoughts are thought.

For example, this is telic thinking: the 1950s Royal Society fellow Edmund Whittaker wrote on the numerical quest taken up by Eddington and the implications of finding any physical constants at all.
...the argument was the same as Heisenberg’s: “Mathematical law is a concept of the mind, and from the existence of mathematical law we infer that our minds have access to something akin to themselves that is behind the universe.”

(By Design: Science and the Search for God
By Larry Witham :52) (More examples)

The evidence shows that it is the thinking of those who have no rationale for rationality that tends to break down into scientism, dogmatism and propaganda if there is no dialectic set against it.

This is propaganda:
An intelligent designer could have started this universe an instant ago with all of our memories and perceptions...
In the same way Nature could have begun on its own an instant ago and all of the biochemical events of our brains are deceiving us into thinking that ratios lead to the rational. Such a mixture of sophistic and solipsistic argument can be made, all from within the context of a Naturalism that is argued to be the definition of "science." Is that a valid argument against philosophic naturalism?

There is actually more reason to believe that Nature's secrets can be found out if Nature's laws have been written by a Writer than if they have come about by "random chance." What defines chance and does evolution, evolve? We could go back to Heraclitus and the notion that all is in flux. Yet if it is all in flux then we must have some solid ground and a standard from which to judge it so, lest that judgment be in flux too.

It is odd how these types of arguments about two minute old universes, Santa and the Tooth Fairy come up among Darwminsts. The fact that such arguments are made seems to reveal a vain arrogance with respect to knowledge and Nature. Ironically, these associative arguments are found among those who tend to argue about how "fundamentalist" anyone who disagrees with them about naturalism is being.

On the argument that admitting to intelligence is like saying that the Cosmsos is two minutes old:
...for the naturalist, the world is intelligible only if it starts off without intelligence and then evolves intelligence. If it starts out with intelligence and evolves intelligence because of a prior intelligence, then somehow the world becomes unintelligible.

The absurdity here is palpable. Only by means of our intelligence are science and our understanding of the world even possible. And yet the naturalist clings to this argument as a last and dying friend. This was brought home to me when I recently lectured at the University of Toronto. One biologist in the audience insisted I must take seriously that the world is two minutes old so long as I accept intelligent design. Presumably any creating intelligence could just as well create a deceptive world that appears old but was freshly created two minutes ago as create a verisimilitudinous world that appears old because it actually is old. That is certainly a logical possibility, but do we have any reason to believe it? Hundreds of years of successful scientific inquiry confirm a world that’s structured to honestly yield up its secrets. If, further, the world reveals evidence of design, why should the mere possibility of a deceptive or capricious designer neutralize that evidence or lead us to disbelieve in the existence of a designer?

If we’re going to take seriously the possibility of a designer misleading us, then we also need to take seriously the possibility of a natural world devoid of design misleading us. Imagine a natural world, devoid of design, where the laws of nature change radically from time to time, where time can back up and restart history on a different course, and where massive quantum fluctuations on a cosmic scale bring about galaxies that seem ancient but are in fact recent. It’s not just designers that can be deceptive and capricious. The same is true of nature. Yet if science is to be possible, we need, as a regulative principle, to assume that nature is honest and dependable. And if nature is the product of design, that means we need, again as a regulative principle, to assume that the designer made nature to be honest and dependable.

It follows that the “two-minute-old universe” argument against intelligent design is an exercise in irrelevance. It cuts as much against naturalism as against intelligent design. And it can’t even touch the point at issue, namely, whether certain biological systems are designed.
(The Design Revolution
By William Dembski :23)

It's a red herring. But I'm sure it is fun for progressives to murmur about science yet again. Those who engage in talking about what science is or how scientific they are instead of making a sound argument about knowledge typically do so because they do not have a sound argument, scientific or not.

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