The DI In Damage Control Mode

In yesterday’s post, I remarked that the clear loser in yesterday’s debate was the intelligent design crowd. They’ve been trying for years to persuade people that anti-evolutionism has nothing–nothing–to do with blinkered religious obscurantism. And in one widely viewed, widely covered, debate Ken Ham went and messed it all up.

The Discovery Institute seems to agree with my assessment. In a blog post bearing the desperate title, “In the Ham-Nye Debate, Not So Much as a Glove Was Laid on Intelligent Design,” they write:

Here’s an important point to register: Whatever you think of the Ham-Nye debate or the presenters, intelligent design was off-topic.

The debate asked this question: “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern, scientific era?” Loaded as that question is with philosophical and theological encumbrance, it has nothing to do with intelligent design. Creation (as the word is commonly employed) refers to the Genesis account, which may be read any number of different ways; ID does not. ID is not a “model,” but rather an inference to the best explanation based on uniform experience with the cause-and-effect structure of the world. And ID certainly is widely employed in today’s modern, scientific era, including by scientists who are not associated with “intelligent design.”

Blah blah blah. Sorry guys, the microphones have been turned off. No one is paying attention. Ken Ham is the public face of anti-evolutionism now.

Also at the DI blog, David Klinghoffer calls the debate a fiasco. He writes:

I’m terribly regretful about Tuesday night’s debate pitting creationist Ken Ham against “Science Guy” Bill Nye before as many as 532,000 viewers on YouTube. I say that as someone, an Orthodox Jew, who very much cares that Christians should be strengthened in their own faith. For many who watched, the event was likely corrosive of that faith. That’s what happens when someone challenges you on the evidence before such an audience, and like Ham, you choose not to answer adequately.

Unlike creationism, intelligent design is not apologetics — it’s a no-holds-barred search for truth about origins. But it sure is more persuasive than anything that Ken Ham presented.

Blah blah blah, again. Tell it to the hand, since he’s the only one still listening. Klinghoffer’s post is especially interesting, since he didn’t seem regretful in the run-up to the debate:

OK, I’ll confess. I’m going to watch the debate on February 4 matching creationist Ken Ham versus “Science Guy” Bill Nye. I’ll do so with eagerness and pleasure.

And later:

More seriously, I would like the world to get a good look at a genuine creationist: what he says, how he argues, what questions animate him. It’s been among the more dishonest tactics of ID’s critics to paint intelligent design as just another shade of “creationism.” The more people watch Ham debate Nye, the better they will be able to appreciate the stark contrast between advocates of intelligent design and those of creationism.

It doesn’t seem to have worked out that way.

More seriously, I devote a chapter of Among the Creationists to comparing YEC to ID. On the one hand, the cultural differences between them are real. The people I met at ID conferences were nearly always hostile towards YEC. The YEC’s, for their part, were generally ambivalent toward ID. They liked the anti-evolution part, but didn’t like the part where they refused to identify the designer.

But for all of that, Klinghoffer is full of it when he says it’s a dishonest tactic to compare ID to creationism. The proper analogy is that they are different dialects of the same language. As much as they try to be relentlessly on message in their public forums, their isn’t enough slick rhetoric in the world to disguise their religious motivations. This was also manifestly obvious at the ID conferences I attended.

In short, wherever you find anti-evolutionism, you can be sure that religion is not far behind. The main difference between YEC and ID is the honesty of its practitioners in acknowledging that.

Comments

  1. #1 Kel
    February 6, 2014

    “ID does not. ID is not a “model,” but rather an inference to the best explanation based on uniform experience with the cause-and-effect structure of the world.”
    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this one of the critiques of ID by scientists? i.e. that ID doesn’t actually do any scientific work, but is simply a restatement of the watchmaker argument with more sciency examples?

  2. #2 G
    February 6, 2014

    Splendid! They made their bed, now they get to lie in it, bedbugs and all.

    This is a serious opening for us to push the “Overton window” on this issue and shift the entire public debate. Instead of granting any difference between ID and YEC, we lump both together under “anti-evolutionism” or perhaps “evolution-denialism,” any time any of this comes up in public policy debates such as on school boards.

    Quoting Klinghoffer at length in school board meetings would be priceless. All the more so because if antis object that “he’s not even Christian,” we can shoot back with charges of anti-Semitism. It’s a lose/lose for the antis.

  3. #3 Reuse
    February 6, 2014

    Intelligent Design does not really need to rule out evolution as an observable phenomenon knowing that if there is a creator than he could simply use evolutionary mechanisms to form matter. Natural selection would represent “free will”. Evolution and the creator are not mutually exclusive.

    In my previous comments, I already suggested how irreducible complexity can be explained in terms of evolution: bimolecular structures that strike some observers as something that could be only created by god could be bio units that were REDUCED TO EFFICIENCY from a more complex bio unit. I would define this mechanism as the mechanism of “necessity”, where useless constituents get eventually eliminated by the processes of natural selection.

  4. #4 dean
    February 6, 2014

    I already suggested how irreducible complexity can be explained in terms of evolution: bimolecular structures that strike some observers as something that could be only created by god could be bio units that were REDUCED TO EFFICIENCY from a more complex bio unit.

    Except that there is no such thing as your irreducible complexity idea – it’s a scam made up entirely to squeeze the notion of creationism into a bag of gas called ID as an attempt to push crap into the classroom.
    But think this way: work on evolution AS IS already explains a great deal, provides testable hypotheses, and so on – everything science is supposed to do. There is no need to bring in the notion of a creator of any kind, especially when
    * there is no evidence for a creator
    * there is no way to test whether such an entity exists
    * whenever ID folks refer to creator they mean their God

    To paraphrase: ID is crap all the way down

  5. #5 John
    February 6, 2014

    This is why science and these debates should embrace religion that has a use also.

    Courts have ruled ID evolved in the late 80s from YEC. The saddle of creationism is too heavy to gain entry to secular schools.

    If these comments from the IDers are to be believed, this dangerous now argument by Ham could be nipped in the bud. But the Prediction, Usefulness, and models are current (and model the past only to predict the future). It’s the view of the past and that no one witnessed past events (“You weren’t there”) that is dangerous.

    Be that as it may, the ID did not counter the prediction and usefulness (we cannot let it into our schools) arguments.

  6. #6 Sean T
    February 6, 2014

    I know why ID exists, namely as a deliberate attempt to couch creationism in non-religious terms. However, I can’t see how ID can EVER divorce itself from religion on philosophical and logical grounds.

    ID postulates a designer. Either that designer is a deity or he/she/it is not a deity. If he/she/it is a deity, we have religion. If not, then ID further postulates that anything as complex as the observed biological systems could not have resulted from natural processes.

    However, how could a less complex designer have produced the observed complexity? Surely this designer must be more complex than his/her/its designs. If that’s the case, and assuming this designer is not a deity, how did the designer come to be? Obviously, we either must have an infinite reress, or we must have religion.

  7. #7 Reuse
    February 6, 2014

    @Dean

    …”There is no need to bring in the notion of a creator of any kind, especially when
    * there is no evidence for a creator”

    ID does not impose the concept of the creator. Their theory stems from SUSPECTING that the complexity, uniformity, PATTERNs that can be noticed and observed with closer attention could be indicative of the existence of something that set it all up. It’s a big difference!!!

    Even in a case of mental illness, which is the result of chemical imbalance in the brain, you would expect chaos, and not uniformity!!!

  8. #8 dean
    February 6, 2014

    ID does not impose the concept of the creator.

    You seem to be deluding yourself. ID was invented to put a pseudo-scientific wrapper on creationism, nothing more, due to the failure of pushing creationism into the classroom.

    Your comment about noticing patterns may be true – people are good at thinking they see patterns even when none is there, but the leap from thinking there is a pattern to saying it could not be there without some guiding creator is a load of crap. You can’t make that leap, and again, such a statement isn’t needed – unless you are trying to ram your preferred religion where it doesn’t belong, the science classroom.

  9. #9 eric
    February 6, 2014

    Reuse:

    ID does not impose the concept of the creator.

    So what does the Intelligent refer to and what, exactly, is doing the Designing? You appear to be killing the patient to save the patient; trying to save the notion of ID by carving out its essential feature – that there is an intelligent, pontent actor responsible for many of the features of the world we see around us.

  10. #10 eric
    February 6, 2014

    Either that designer is a deity or he/she/it is not a deity. If he/she/it is a deity, we have religion.

    That would not be a problem in terms of teaching ID constutionally under the first amendment, if it had a valid secular purpose. I.e., if the ID hypothesis made successful, testable predictions, if it helped researches perform successful experiments, discover new inventions, etc. We can teach theories and hypotheses that have religious ramifications; remember that when the BBT was first floated, many scientists rejected it because it sounded religious. It passed muster because it has scientific merit, not because it was deemed sufficiently non-religious. The problem with ID is that it has no scientific merit. The only real reason to teach it is religious and the only real effect is to promote (a) religion, which makes it unconstitutional.

  11. #11 Reuse
    February 6, 2014

    ID is science because it explores and studies noticed and observed phenomena, including those that fall out of the domain of the conventional scientific grid such as the supernatural phenomena, which many people observe but have no means to prove to others what they have noticed, including mental illness!!! ID proponents explore the universe from another dimensions, angles and cross-sections, which allows them to observe patterns, uniformity, precise perfect coincidences that lead to one logical conclusion, at this point, that our universe if it’s not something else on its grandest scale, must have been designed.

    Evolution was not an officially recognized phenomenon until Lamarck and Darwin pointed it out to people until around 200 years ago, meaning that until then, people most likely did not know that there was such a phenomenon, but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t there. You have to be observant and paying attention in order to be able to observe something. Luckily, somebody finally noticed it. Too bad that there are people out there, who are not comfortable with it, and are trying to deny it. However, if it’s there, it’s there. All you can do is learn to be comfortable with it!!!

    Another thing is that unlike believers in creationism, ID proponents may not necessarily be happy with the possibility that there is a creator. Knowing that there is a creator can make your existence miserable and very unpleasant, especially if the creator is intrusive. Thus, if anyone can find a better, more decent explanation for the phenomena that can shake your atheist scientific worldview, you will only be doing these people a favor.

  12. #12 eric
    February 6, 2014

    ID is science because it explores and studies noticed and observed phenomena,

    My cat explores and studies noticed phenomena. Does that make her science?

    It’s not enough to simply say ‘we look around, ergo what we’re doing is science.’ To be considered a scientific hypothesis it must make testable statements about the world, and to be considered part of science actual scientists must be using it to do science. ID has no testable statements and nobody is using it to do science. Teaching it in H.S. science classes serves no secular purpose beceause ID theory is not a skill or tool within the toolbox of science.
    Now, if you want to teach it in a history- or philosophy-focused elective (for example, covering design arguments and the respnses to them from the ancient greeks through paley and up to Dembski), I’m okay with that. But given that scientists don’t actually use ID, teaching it in science classes makes as little sense to me as your math techer spending calculus class time to tell you about civil war history.

  13. #13 Reuse
    February 6, 2014

    @ Eric,

    You comment is nothing but bullying. If you bully somebody, it means you’re not really interested in finding out the truth.

    ID is a method of exploration, which is literally “seeing what’s going on”. People who use this method, are agnostics leaning more towards the possibility of the existence of the creator and not chance and evolution alone that formed the universe or wherever that is that we are in. These people are not absolutely convinced, unlike religious people, of such a possibility. It’s only an inference-based speculation, and a lot more…

  14. #14 Michael Fugate
    February 6, 2014

    How does one observe supernatural phenomena?

  15. #15 Reuse
    February 6, 2014

    The problem with the scientific method is that it is limited only to things that CAN be tested by means of available modern-day technology. However, the phenomena that cannot be tested, but are suspected to exist, and periodically throw you out of your solid atheist scientific mind frame, are being intentionally brushed off or ignored. Surely, it all boils down to whether we really need to know the truth. If you’re more about comfort and have focus on life as opposed to finding out where it came from and what it is, ignoring CAN work… until a certain point. There could be many phenomena out there that many people are not yet aware of because different people have different experiences and notice different things, and proving can be more challenging than observing something that no one ever has. So many people can’t even see evolution when you clearly point it out to them with its obvious mechanisms. Perhaps, you need to be a genius in order to be able to see it. Charles Darwin was. Plus, do not underestimate how human nature gets in the way of your trying to find out the truth.

  16. #16 Another Tom
    Sol-3
    February 6, 2014

    Reuse @15

    You’re confusing Methodological Naturalism (which is what the scientific method is based on) with Philosophical Naturalism.

    If you’re not using the scientific method to learn about the universe around you, you’re not doing science. That is the problem with intelligent design: they don’t do science, they just make speculations. Their main argument is one gigantic argument from ignorance fallacy.

    You have to form a hypothesis and test it, you can’t just eyeball something and say “that looks designed,” stop there, and expect anything but to be thought of as farcical.

    Evolution is no more “atheist science” than the germ theory of disease, general relativity, or quantum mechanics. Redefining science to include ID would also make alchemy and astrology “science.”

    Gee, I guess that if we have to treat ID as serious science, where’s the intelligent falling or intelligent disease? Cause you know, there could be this mysterious undetectable intelligence holding us to the surface of the Earth and making us sick.

  17. #17 dean
    February 6, 2014

    The problem with the scientific method is that it is limited only to things that CAN be tested by means of available modern-day technology

    Then it’s a good thing we’re not limited to today’s technologies. The rest of your comment is weak justification for, well, just about any type of woo people could imagine.

  18. #18 Reuse
    February 6, 2014

    “How does one observe supernatural phenomena?”

    It’s an experience that leads to a speculation based on that experience + inference.

  19. #19 eric
    February 6, 2014

    Reuse:

    You comment is nothing but bullying. If you bully somebody, it means you’re not really interested in finding out the truth.

    Actually I thought I was being quite accommodating by comparing it to civil war history. I mean, nobody questions that that has value – saying ‘it doesn’t belong in a math class’ is not a value judgement on its content.

    ID is a method of exploration, which is literally “seeing what’s going on”.

    Great, then teach it in a “ID as a method of exploration” class. My question is, why should we spend time on it in chemistry or biology class when it’s not a method of exploration used by chemists or biologists?

  20. #20 Blaine
    February 6, 2014

    @Reuse
    You are all over the place and I am not even sure what your point is. Also, your reference to mental illness and chaos vs uniformity is beyond me.

    You remind me of Thomas Nagel’s refusal to accept the causal closure of physics…ie the position that physics can explain all phenenon without remainder. In his book _Mind and Cosmos_, he takes the position that it is not closed and proposes an additional law which is mind. You seem to be taking a similar position. It is basically the argument from ignorance however. Just because you cannot understand how something evolved, you take the position that it is not understandable under the current explanatory apparatus of science and we must propose unknown mysterious forces that have brought it about.

    “There could be many phenomena out there that many people are not yet aware of because different people have different experiences and notice different things.”

    There could be many phenomenon in the abstract sense that a skeptic might argue…not all things possible are probable. The causal closure of physics is the best thing going. Physics has so far been able to explain everything without remainder.

  21. #21 eric
    February 6, 2014

    “How does one observe supernatural phenomena?”

    It’s an experience that leads to a speculation based on that experience + inference.

    If you stop at speculation, you aren’t following the scientific method. In fact, you’ve barely begun it. What you’ve described doesn’t include any attempt to test your speculation. It doesn’t include any peer review or reproduction used to help validate the test results. And so on.

    What you’ve described is more or less the very first step of science – the sitting in the bathtub moment, or sitting under the apple tree moment, or the having a dream about a snake moment. But that is not the totality of the scientific method, and if you stop there, you aren’t doing science. If that’s ID, ID isn’t science.

  22. #22 Reuse
    February 6, 2014

    “You have to form a hypothesis and test it, you can’t just eyeball something and say “that looks designed,” stop there, and expect anything but to be thought of as farcical.”

    So what you’re saying is that when you notice a phenomena, you need to form a hypothesis on what it might be (it could be several hypthesises) and try and test them empirically.
    And what about dimensions? Can you test them empirically?

    @Eric

    “Great, then teach it in a “ID as a method of exploration” class. My question is, why should we spend time on it in chemistry or biology class when it’s not a method of exploration used by chemists or biologists?”

    This is exactly one of the methods chemists and biologists use.

  23. #23 Michael Fugate
    February 6, 2014

    How again does one distinguish between an observation of the natural and the supernatural? Speculation seems to get you nowhere; I could speculate on natural causes as easily or probably more easily than supernatural ones. You seem to be arguing that limiting our explanations to the natural is wrong because it won’t give us a complete picture, but you need to give some reasons why we should consider supernatural explanations and how they will give us a more complete understanding. I would be interested to know what your observations and subsequent speculations tell us about the supernatural. What is this designer like and what are its motivations?

  24. #24 Blaine
    February 6, 2014

    @Reuse

    I am curious what would be an example of ‘supernatural phenomena’.

    When a psychic ‘channels’ another person or a Haitian Voodoo believer is possessed by a Loa, is this an example of something supernatural?

  25. #25 Reuse
    February 6, 2014

    @Blaine
    “You are all over the place and I am not even sure what your point is. Also, your reference to mental illness and chaos vs uniformity is beyond me.”

    This only shows that you are the one with a problem and lacking a bit there.

    ” Just because you cannot understand how something evolved, you take the position that it is not understandable under the current explanatory apparatus of science and we must propose unknown mysterious forces that have brought it about. ”

    I do not deny evolution as an actual phenomenon. I understand its mechanisms, and I even proposed a theory that can be support by natural selection on how, what ID refer to as “irreducible complexity”, has evolved. You, on the other hand, are trying to convince me of the opposite, as if you can’t even see and understand what you’re reading.

  26. #26 Another Matt
    February 6, 2014

    “You are all over the place and I am not even sure what your point is. Also, your reference to mental illness and chaos vs uniformity is beyond me.”

    This only shows that you are the one with a problem and lacking a bit there.

    Reuse, I’d like to be charitable, but I’m afraid your reference(s) to mental illness made no sense to me, either. Could you elaborate?

  27. #27 Reuse
    February 6, 2014

    @Michael Fugate

    You don’t even realize that I am talking about ID and not myself.

    “I would be interested to know what your observations and subsequent speculations tell us about the supernatural. What is this designer like and what are its motivations?’

    One more time, ID does not specify a creator. ID proponents cannot tell you anything about the creator because they only suspect the existence of a creator meaning that the evidence they observe points more to the creator and not the universe that came into existence by chance. Evolution is irrelevant in either case. It’s just several mechanisms that lead to the formation of matter.

  28. #28 Reuse
    February 6, 2014

    @Another Matt

    “Reuse, I’d like to be charitable, but I’m afraid your reference(s) to mental illness made no sense to me, either. Could you elaborate?”

    Why don’t you study mental illness to the fullest, see what it is, and then come back.

  29. #29 Blaine
    February 6, 2014

    @27
    I look at the world and suspect a world without reason, without logic and without design – raw contingency and randomness. I do not suspect a creator. How, as an ID proponent, would you convince me to ‘suspect the existence of a creator’. We both observe the same world, but come to opposite conclusions. Without resorting to ‘faith-based’ science, would you be able to decide between the two positions – what would be the test or decision criteria?

    IMO, when I peal back the mask, I find a sinister cackling monster – this would be the best case for me.

  30. #30 Another Matt
    February 6, 2014

    Why don’t you study mental illness to the fullest, see what it is, and then come back.

    OK, done! Now can you tell us what you meant?

  31. #31 dean
    February 6, 2014

    One more time, ID does not specify a creator

    One more time: you are not being honest. The folks who developed this certainly do have a creator in mind: their god. Your response simply does not match reality. You need to observe a little more carefully.

  32. #32 Michael Fugate
    February 6, 2014

    Sigh – this is fruitless. I expected to learn something, but alas another ID proponent who knows nothing….

  33. #33 Reuse
    February 6, 2014

    Blaine wrote:

    @27
    I look at the world and suspect a world without reason, without logic and without design – raw contingency and randomness. I do not suspect a creator.”

    As per the Chaos Theory, there is an underlining order beneath chaos. Order usually emerges upon close observation. That’s when you start noticing patterns in different events, fields and phenomena. You need to know people a little bit, at least, to know that some perceive the world as order and some as chaos. It’s possible that the ratio between chaos and order can fluctuate depending on what you’re comfortable with and/or your worldview.

  34. #34 eric
    February 6, 2014

    Reuse

    This [ID - "see what's going on" or "an inference-based speculation"] is exactly one of the methods chemists and biologists use.

    No the ones I know. Colloquially they may refer to themselves as explorers or dreamers or whatever, but what they do involves a lot more than just inference-based speculation.

    Secondly, you now seem to be contradicting yourself. In @22 you appear to be claiming that ID is science, but in @15 you appear to be claiming that it isn’t – that it’s an improvement or supplement to the scientific method, which you see as limited in scope.

    Which is it? Is ID an improvement over the current scientific method, or is it part of current scientific method?

  35. #35 sean samis
    February 6, 2014

    Reuse wrote,

    ID does not specify a creator. ID proponents cannot tell you anything about the creator because they only suspect the existence of a creator meaning that the evidence they observe points more to the creator and not the universe that came into existence by chance.

    I think your reason for refusing to specify a creator is as a defense against the claim of religion. OK, maybe that will work, but it also puts your idea outside science. A theory that claims something is designed but has no idea what the designer could be (Please notice I said “what”, not “who”) is a worthless idea.

    When ID proponents do more than merely “suspect the existence of a creator” then ID could begin looking like a scientific idea. Until then, it’s not scientific (much less A Science).

    Claiming that the evidence “points more to the creator and not the universe that came into existence by chance” is just that: A Claim and nothing more. Without being able to say anything definitive about the designer, the opinion that something was designed is just wild speculation. It may as well be religion, if it is not already so.

    sean s.

  36. #36 eric
    February 6, 2014

    It’s possible that the ratio between chaos and order can fluctuate depending on what you’re comfortable with and/or your worldview.

    What’s the ratio today? 12:1? 2:5?

    I am being somewhat tongue in cheek. Michael, I suspect you’re right. Though part of me suspects a foreign language mismatch.

  37. #37 Another Matt
    February 6, 2014

    One more time, ID does not specify a creator. ID proponents cannot tell you anything about the creator because they only suspect the existence of a creator meaning that the evidence they observe points more to the creator and not the universe that came into existence by chance.

    This reminds me of a discussion I had with a theologian, where he was arguing that the existence of God is a completely different point from God’s nature. That is, if you’re arguing for the existence of God, you make some points, and then once you affirm his existence, then you can argue further about his nature. The problem is that I have to know something about the nature of the thing you’re proposing before I can assent with belief, or not.

    It’s true that “The Triune God Of The Bible” would be overspecified for the kind of being proposed in ID, but it’s pretty clear that the posited being would need to be:
    1. Itself undesigned.
    2. Able to violate conservation of energy.

    That’s a good enough starting place.

  38. #38 Reuse
    February 6, 2014

    So you are nothing but bullies. Wow, how impressive.
    May be you should learn how to talk normal.

  39. #39 Another Matt
    February 6, 2014

    Reuse, I understand it’s one against many — it’s that way for me in my family (the token atheist in a family of creationists), so I can sympathize with feeling ganged up on. I can understand the need to feel defensive in such situations as well. In any case, here is what you wrote about mental illness:

    “Even in a case of mental illness, which is the result of chemical imbalance in the brain, you would expect chaos, and not uniformity!!!”

    It’s not that I disagree — it’s that I can’t even tell what you’re trying to say. I can’t tell what meaning is being carried by these words, and the context doesn’t help. So all I’m asking for is an elaboration — can you say what you mean in other words, perhaps using an example?

    If someone asks you an earnest question, it’s your chance to teach that person if you think you have something for them to learn.

  40. #40 sean samis
    February 6, 2014

    So you are nothing but bullies. Wow, how impressive. May be you should learn how to talk normal.

    Reuse,

    In what way have I bullied you?

    sean s.

  41. #41 dean
    February 6, 2014

    So you are nothing but bullies

    Not at all. Give some example of something ID contributes to science – measurable, testable, etc – something that can be studied – that would be start.

    Saying “reality is complicated and so there must be some super intelligence behind things and we’ll never know” – is a non-starter. A rational thought about what this ‘creator’ would have to be able to do in order to bring things into existence without violating all sorts of physical laws puts such a being into the realm of gods – and you’ve just put yourself so far from anything that could be called a scientific exploration of the world it is nothing but laughable.
    For that reason, the reception of those who claim there is should be any respectability given to ID/creationism is going to be full of questions: how do you explain this? How would that be tested? etc.

    Responses of “some things can’t be tested or measured” pretty much seal your fate.

  42. #42 Michael Fugate
    February 6, 2014

    Bullies, why because we don’t agree with you?

    Are you an ID proponent or merely telling us what ID proponents believe?
    If ID proponents have experiences that led them to believe that a creator exists, then don’t those experiences inform them about what the creator is like or how it created?

    Are we just talking theology here – transcendence = god? I have some awe-inspiring experience or a feeling of inner peace or giddy joy over a new girlfriend and this is interpreted as connection to the divine. Yet ID proponents are seeing these things in the natural order down to the molecular level – what kinds of feelings are they having to induce connections to the divine? If you are not one of them, then you obviously have studied them or else you wouldn’t be claiming knowledge.

  43. #43 Kel
    February 6, 2014

    ID doesn’t qualify as a science because ID doesn’t make any testable scientific claims. What is the mechanism through which the ID works? What patterns can we expect to see that would verify or falsify design? There’s a reason that ID proponents have mainly engaged in criticism of evolutionary theory – ID is simply a restatement of the teleological argument, so it’s trying to win by default. We see “design”, we infer “designer”. But the problem is that without trying to explain how the designer designs, the statement is empty – as Flew’s parable of the gardener demonstrates.

  44. #44 See Nick Overlook
    February 6, 2014

    Bullies? I thought you guys were relatively gentle with him, compared to what the Pharygulites would have done.

  45. #45 Blaine
    February 6, 2014

    Michael Behe proposes ID
    Michael Behe has son
    Michael Behe teaches son ID
    Michael Behe’s son reads Dawkin’s book: _The God Delusion_
    Michael Behe’s son become atheist and rejects ID

    “Even in a case of mental illness, which is the result of chemical imbalance in the brain, you would expect chaos, and not uniformity!!!”

    I agree Behe, although clearly mentally ill – ( only a mentally ill person would propose ID and one would indeed expect chaos ) is uniform in his dogged promotion of ID.

    Behe’s son, who had his brain sanitized by Dawkin’s book, rejects ID….one more successful therapy.

  46. #46 Ruese
    February 6, 2014

    Michael Fugate wrote:
    “If ID proponents have experiences that led them to believe that a creator exists, then don’t those experiences inform them about what the creator is like or how it created?”

    The experiences you have mentioned above might be insufficient in order to be able to fully infer what the creator is like exactly. In the case of a prolonged and untreated mental illness, for instance, you might end up seeing something that might be the god everybody’s talking about, and that seems to have incorporated itself into everything in an extra spacial dimension perceived through motion. It’s hard to define this entity even though it seems perceptible. This experience falls out of the mental illness spectrum, and its existence seems to make total sense.

    In some religious texts, you may find verses that talk about how asking god for the proof of his existence is punishable. This can mean that it’s not recommended due to what might happen as a result of god’s revealing itself/themselves to whoever asks for it. It could simply be that by revealing itself, the creator will have to literally bend your mind, which could be traumatizing or even damaging to the brain. To an atheist this might sound as if the people, who wrote those scriptures are trying to deceive them.You can probably look at it as some symptom of mental illness because it’s more comforting than knowing that the creator, IF it is the creator, is that cruel and intrusive.

    And of course, how would you go about testing something like this, especially, if it’s indeed the creator. The creator would probably not even want to be subjected to tests. Perhaps, we are not even supposed to know about his existence because your life might lose its purpose. It could be Christians and adherents to other religions, who think that everyone needs to know about god’s existence, are actually being real evil in that sense. Exposing the mystery of life to such an extent might indeed be too far from being a virtue.

  47. #47 Michael Fugate
    February 6, 2014

    Well speculation is certainly a strong aspect of what you are doing – is it ID?

  48. #48 Ruese
    February 6, 2014

    “Well speculation is certainly a strong aspect of what you are doing – is it ID?”

    Let it be speculation then. I think it’s really beyond the point what method you use in order to enable yourself find out the truth or to be more precise, seeing “what is going on”, particularly, if you really think that this is more important than life itself. Remember than humans are not that much more genetically complex than ringworms. As I said, your life might lose its meaning, and even all other purposes, other than being absorbed by the creator, if it turns out that there is such indeed. I would think if there is a creator, he created life for living.

    And what would be the hypothesis in a case like this? Hypothesis is a speculation that can be tested.

  49. #49 Ruese
    February 6, 2014

    Life, in a biological sense, could be a self-sustaining phenomenon, that either came into existence by accident, although that is a speculation as well just as it is a speculation that there is a creator, who/that created life to be a self-sustaining phenomenon and intentionally hides itself in order to allow biolife to focus on living as opposed to figuring out what life is and how it came about.

  50. #50 John
    February 6, 2014

    Blaine @29
    Let me float a model by you
    A model you remember suggests a set of principles that helps predict observations.
    I think one such principle is a fractal postulate that suggests self-similarity throughout the universe. We observe that people are created (given birth). Plants and animals also have a beginning. Even elements have a beginning, as do stars. By extension, the universe itself must have been created.

  51. #51 Another Matt
    February 6, 2014

    John, we don’t see people, plants and animals being created — we see them assembling and maintaining themselves from preexisting matter/energy. Same with stars.

    Let’s apply your logic: “So by extension, the universe must have assembled itself from preexisting matter/energy.”

    No, it’s not a good inference in either case.

  52. #52 John
    February 6, 2014

    another Matt
    sure. Why not? Its called the Big Bang or cyclic universe.
    Your spirit, your soul or whatever you are is not matter. You are a relationship of matter to other matter. But the issue was the creation of our universe. Our model of what came before our universe is now speculation.

  53. #53 Another Matt
    February 6, 2014

    Are Reuse and Ruese the same person?

  54. #54 Michael Fugate
    February 6, 2014

    Reuse, that’s not much to go on and how exactly does speculation lead to truth. You are doing philosophy here and you do need a method and the method needs to be explained.

  55. #55 couchloc
    February 6, 2014

    There are several confusions running through this thread about the character of ID. This seems to be occurring on both sides of the issue and maybe worth noting.

    1. Jason says that “Klinghoffer is full of it when he says it’s a dishonest tactic to compare ID to creationism. The proper analogy is that they are different dialects of the same language” because of “their religious motivations.” This is correct in the sense that they are both religiously oriented views. But, of course, it’s wrong to lump ID and Creationism together in another sense. ID is a branch of “natural theology” that appeals to empirical evidence. Creationism is a branch of “revealed theology” that appeals to revelation from the Bible. That’s probably what Klinghoffer is taking about.

    2. There is also a related confusion by posters here about the status of ID as “scientific.” It is noted in the original post that “ID is not a model, but rather an inference to the best explanation based on uniform experience with the cause-and-effect structure of the world.” I think this is why Ruese has repeatedly said that ID is scientific, and, in this respect, he’s right. I take this to mean that the argument from design at issue in ID is an empirically based argument that appeals to design we observe in nature, and then makes logical inferences from this. There is no appeal to religion/faith/revelation/etc. anywhere in this. The reference to religion only comes in the conclusion of the argument.

    3. So ID doesn’t argue “from” religion as Creationists do but “to” religion from empirical premises. It is in this restricted sense that Ruese is right that ID has an empirical basis and isn’t appealing to other sorts of evidence.

    4. The problem is that other people are using the notion of “scientific” in a different sense. They are asking for the scientific status of belief in God or religion as a whole. So, it is asked: What can you tell us about this unobserved God you speak of? What is his nature? etc. etc. In this respect they’re right that this part of ID is implausible and lacks empirical content. So what should be said to Ruese is that the mere fact that ID makes reference to empirical premises in its conception (which it does) is not sufficient to call it scientific in the relevant sense. A scientific theory makes predictions, offers explanations, is fruitful, is testable, etc. . These are things which haven’t been demonstrated by ID.

  56. #56 dean
    February 6, 2014

    But, of course, it’s wrong to lump ID and Creationism together in another sense.

    ID and creationism are two sides of the same coin. Creationism blatantly screams god did, ID says a creator (simply the name god erased and was replaced by designer) .

    Neither looks for an explanation: in each the starting point is “I can’t imagine how x could exist without ” and either god or designer is filled in. Not remotely a search for explanation or furthering knowledge in either case, and neither remotely resembles science.

  57. #57 eric
    February 6, 2014

    Reuse:

    And of course, how would you go about testing something like this, especially, if it’s indeed the creator. The creator would probably not even want to be subjected to tests.

    I would think the intellectually honest thing to do if you believe in such an entity, is to accept that it’s a nonscientific idea. I’m not saying stop believing; I’m saying that if you posit some by-definition-untestable thing, you should be comfortable admitting that it’s not scientific.

    Couchloc:

    it’s wrong to lump ID and Creationism together in another sense. ID is a branch of “natural theology” that appeals to empirical evidence. Creationism is a branch of “revealed theology” that appeals to revelation from the Bible. That’s probably what Klinghoffer is taking about.

    It’s right to lump them together because ID was a political attempt to rebrand creationism after the supreme court made creationism unconstitutional to teach in 1987. Google “cdesign proponentists.” And see below:

    Creation means that the various forms of life began abruptly through the agency of an intelligent creator with their distinctive features already intact–fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc. (Biology and Creation 1986, FTE 3015, p. 2-10)

    vs.

    Intelligent design means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency, with their distinctive features already intact–fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc. (Pandas 1987, intelligent design version, FTE 4667, p. 2-15)

  58. #58 eric
    February 6, 2014

    Couchloc:

    “ID is not a model, but rather an inference to the best explanation based on uniform experience with the cause-and-effect structure of the world.” I think this is why Ruese has repeatedly said that ID is scientific, and, in this respect, he’s right.

    But no scientist uses this respect…or if they do, they strongly disagree that D is the “best explanation.” IDers are like geocentrists claiming that the inference to the best explanation is that the sun orbits the earth. It may be the inference to the best explanation to them, but that doesn’t make it scientific. Is geocentrisim scientific, Couchloc? What if some people find it the inference to the best explanation?

    I take this to mean that the argument from design at issue in ID is an empirically based argument that appeals to design we observe in nature, and then makes logical inferences from this.

    Not sufficient. The humour theory of medicine is an empirically based argument that appeals to what we observe in nature. Astrology is an empirically based argument that appeals to what we observe in nature. You can’t just appeal to observation; you have to revise in the face of disconfirmining evidence. You have to make testable predictions and test. And so on.

    Couch, both you and Reuse are Behe-ing; expanding the definition of science so that this idea fits, but at the cost of allowing pretty much everything in.

  59. #59 couchloc
    February 6, 2014

    “Not sufficient…..Astrology is an empirically based argument that appeals to what we observe in nature. You can’t just appeal to observation; you have to revise in the face of disconfirmining evidence. You have to make testable predictions and test. And so on.”

    Eric, why are you repeating what I said as if it’s an objection to me? See the last part of my post at (4) which makes the same point.

    And the earlier point I made about the ID inference to the best explanation was not that any IBE argument is scientific. It was that what Ruese means by calling it “scientific” is that it is an empirical based argument, which it is. People are using the term “scientific” in different ways and talking past one another too much.

  60. #60 eric
    February 6, 2014

    Couch,
    It’s not that constructive to point out that IF we adopt Reuse’s definition of science, ID is science. We know that. You could say the same thing about Behe. Far more constructive would be if you would give your most cogent argument for why we should or should not adopt Reuse’s definition of science. Take a stand for a position! Because we are not talking past each other. Michael and Kel and I (and etc.) understand most of what Reuse is saying – we just disagree with it. The problem here is not communications passing in the night; it’s them meeting head on, in (figuratively) violent disagreement.

  61. #61 Blaine
    February 6, 2014

    John @50
    That seems like a sensible, rational thing to extrapolate from. It is generally the basis for the cosmological proof for the existence of god. However, this ultimately rests on a metaphysical presumption known as the ‘principle of sufficient reason’. ( http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/sufficient-reason )The gist is that everything has a cause or reason. This is an assumption however just as the parallel postulate is an assumption. From a metaphysical standpoint, there is no way to establish or test for the ultimate truth of the principle of sufficient reason. There may be uncaused causes. Theists would claim that god is such an entity. So in principle, the idea is not unthinkable even by theists. Atheists may postulate that something comes from nothings. How this might happen is just as mysterious as postulating a god which to me is just as problematic.

    On why the answer to the question ‘why is there something rather than nothing’ is ‘something always comes from nothing’ ( After Finitude: An Essay on the Necessity of Finitude, http://www.amazon.com/After-Finitude-Essay-Necessity-Contingency/dp/1441173838 ) is an interesting resource. Another resource ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quentin_Meillassoux ). And yet another resource ( Nihil Unbound, Nihil Unbound: Enlightenment and Extinction http://www.amazon.com/Nihil-Unbound-Enlightenment-Ray-Brassier/dp/023052205X/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1391744541&sr=8-4&keywords=nihil ).
    If one holds that causality is nothing more than logical inference within a theory, the concept of contingency is not a hard pill to swallow – by contingency , I mean a statement may not evaluate to true under all possible valuations ( or worlds ).

  62. #62 Blaine
    February 7, 2014

    John @50
    Apparently my #60 comment is awaiting moderation, so I will remove the book links to see if that helps.

    That seems like a sensible, rational thing to extrapolate from. It is generally the basis for the cosmological proof for the existence of god. However, this ultimately rests on a metaphysical presumption known as the ‘principle of sufficient reason’. The gist is that everything has a cause or reason. This is an assumption however just as the parallel postulate is an assumption. From a metaphysical standpoint, there is no way to establish or test for the ultimate truth of the principle of sufficient reason. There may be uncaused causes. Theists would claim that god is such an entity. So in principle, the idea is not unthinkable even by theists. Atheists may postulate that something comes from nothings. How this might happen is just as mysterious as postulating a god which to me is just as problematic.

    On why the answer to the question ‘why is there something rather than nothing’ is ‘something always comes from nothing’, the book _After Finitude: An Essay on the Necessity of Finitude_ is an interesting resource. Another resource. And yet another resource is the book _Nihil Unbound, Nihil Unbound: Enlightenment and Extinction_
    .
    If one holds that causality is nothing more than logical inference within a theory, the concept of contingency is not a hard pill to swallow – by contingency , I mean a statement may not evaluate to true under all possible valuations ( or worlds ). Establishing necessity was Kant’s life work and his conclusion is that this is something that the mind uses to order phenomenon and is not something we can posit exits in the world as it is in-itself.

  63. #63 John
    February 7, 2014

    Blaine
    Refreseach my memory. I thought you rejected Liebniz?

    I don’t think the idea of a beginning implies a God. My view of science would ask if we add a creator God to the model, what new thing would be predicted? None – I think.

    I like to speculate about things outside the current models and observations. But go to far is not fruitful and we just go around in circles.

  64. #64 couchloc
    February 7, 2014

    Eric writes: “Far more constructive would be if you would give your most cogent argument for why we should or should not adopt Reuse’s definition of science. Take a stand for a position!”

    Well, here is what I wrote in my original post: “So what should be SAID TO RUESE is that the mere fact that ID makes reference to empirical premises in its conception (which it does) IS NOT SUFFICIENT to call it scientific in the relevant sense. A scientific theory makes predictions, offers explanations, is fruitful, is testable, etc. These are things which haven’t been demonstrated by ID.” How is that not rejecting Ruese’s account?

  65. #65 Jason Rosenhouse
    Harrisonburg, VA
    February 7, 2014

    couchloc–

    Jason says that “Klinghoffer is full of it when he says it’s a dishonest tactic to compare ID to creationism. The proper analogy is that they are different dialects of the same language” because of “their religious motivations.” This is correct in the sense that they are both religiously oriented views. But, of course, it’s wrong to lump ID and Creationism together in another sense. ID is a branch of “natural theology” that appeals to empirical evidence. Creationism is a branch of “revealed theology” that appeals to revelation from the Bible. That’s probably what Klinghoffer is taking about.

    The creationists certainly would not accept this characterization. They make a distinction between Biblical creationism and scientific creationism. The former is a form of revealed theology, but the latter is a purely scientific endeavor that has nothing to do with the Bible. They say that all the scientific evidence is on their side.

    The ID folks, for their part, would also bristle at the idea that theirs is a form of natural theology. Officially, ID has nothing to do with any theology at all.

    The comparison between them goes far deeper than just saying that both are religiously motivated views. They are both religiously motivated views that masquerade as science as cover for a right-wing social agenda.

    As I see it, at one level both sides make purely scientific arguments. So the first question is whether those arguments are any good, since if they are I wouldn’t care about the motivations behind them. But once it’s seen that the arguments are very poor, and presented with rather a lot of outright dishonesty, I think it’s fair to move on to a consideration of their motives. And once the history of both scientific creationism (which arose largely in the wake of adverse court decisions in the 1960s) and ID (which arose largely in the wake of adverse court decisions in the 1980s) both the religious motives behind both, and the similarities between them become obvious.

  66. #66 eric
    February 7, 2014

    couch @64 – fair enough. I must’ve missed the part where you agreed with us, so I apologize.

  67. #67 Ruese
    February 7, 2014

    @Michael Fugate

    “Reuse, that’s not much to go on and how exactly does speculation lead to truth. You are doing philosophy here and you do need a method and the method needs to be explained.”

    Scientific method is limited, and you need to realize it. Don’t place all your stakes on just one method. What’s really important here is to find out the truth, and if there is a better method(s) out there, you can look for it/them as well. The method I devised, which is “seeing what’s going on”, for the lack of a better term, is an improvement to the scientific method, particularly if the scientific method cannot test many speculations including the scientific ones.

    Plus, you have to take into account the fact that proving something to somebody may not be that crucial. And sometimes proving can be more impossible than the suspected phenomenon itself. Just think of how difficult it is to prove to people that somebody committed a crime against you, even though you have all the photographic and medical evidence and even witnesses. So do not underestimate human nature as being a major obstruction to seeing what’s going on.

    As for the dimension I mentioned in my last comment, which might seem like not a lot to work with in your case, I guess with your limited expertise and education, one can say that finding cure for mental illness is something that “great minds” like you could do in a jiffy.

    For those, who have knowledge in psychiatry/psychology, the extra special or temporal dimension that seems to harbor what might be the creator so many people refer to, acts as a cognitive distortion but not really a distortion. It can be hidden through cognitive therapy, though cognitive therapy and psych meds only help to hide it. It doesn’t mean that the phenomenon itself, which the creator would be, is not there, IF it is the creator dimension.

  68. #68 Ruese
    February 7, 2014

    @Eric

    “I would think the intellectually honest thing to do if you believe in such an entity, is to accept that it’s a nonscientific idea.”

    I do not believe. Believing may lead to wrong conclusions and is not a reliable method of exploration. Every time I notice something unusual, I try and see what’s going on. Whether the idea is scientific or not is irrelevant because the truth is not about status.

  69. #69 Reginald Selkirk
    February 7, 2014

    Klinghoffer: I say that as someone, an Orthodox Jew, who very much cares that Christians should be strengthened in their own faith.

    Total WTF. And a few sentences later, he insists that Intelligent Design is not apologetics.

  70. #70 couchloc
    February 7, 2014

    Jason,

    “The creationists certainly would not accept this characterization. They make a distinction between Biblical creationism and scientific creationism. The former is a form of revealed theology, but the latter is a purely scientific endeavor that has nothing to do with the Bible.”

    It is probably true that there are different forms of creationism that interpret the issue differently. So I can see why you say this.

    “The ID folks, for their part, would also bristle at the idea that theirs is a form of natural theology. Officially, ID has nothing to do with any theology at all.”

    This doesn’t fit with my understanding. I just looked and found this article which almost repeats my original post word-for-word, and characterizes the difference between creationism and ID as I did. This doesn’t settle the issue about Klinghoffer since it’s hard to tell what his view is from his post, but it does suggest one way of understanding his comments.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/revealed-theology-natural-theology-and-the-darwinist-concoction-of-%E2%80%9Cidcreationism-%E2%80%9D/

  71. #71 eric
    February 7, 2014

    Reuse:

    Scientific method is limited, and you need to realize it. Don’t place all your stakes on just one method. What’s really important here is to find out the truth, and if there is a better method(s) out there, you can look for it/them as well. The method I devised, which is “seeing what’s going on”, for the lack of a better term, is an improvement to the scientific method, particularly if the scientific method cannot test many speculations including the scientific ones.

    Well, then, use it! Go out and use your improved method to discover something science has trouble with. We could use a room temperature superconductor. Or a cure for cancer, or, on the theoretical side, a set of equations that unifies quantum mechanics and general relativity.

    If you want us to pay attention to your new or improved method, the best way to do so is to show us it works. And please don’t think I’m being unfair – we make the same demand on each other. I’m not going to adopt John Doe’s experimental design until after Doe publishes a paper showing how he used it and how it worked.

  72. #72 eric
    February 7, 2014

    ack, html tag fail. The first paragraph is Reuse’s, the next two are mine…and none of them should be in italics. My apologies.

  73. #73 couchloc
    February 7, 2014

    eric, yes I think we’re agreed. Good.

  74. […] reality of all this is that the only real loser here was Intelligent Design. Actually I was a bit surprised to learn that the ID folks hate the YEC folk. See, the ID people […]

  75. #75 Blaine
    February 7, 2014

    @63 John

    I do reject the principal of sufficient reason which means I reject its use by Leibniz and Spinoza. My point is that it is the unspoken assumption behind the cosmological argument.

    However, I do like Leibnitz’s nifty notation, but don’t think that this is the best of all possible worlds. Although, if he would have stated it as the ‘principle of least action,’ he would have been widely viewed a genius.
    ;-)

  76. #76 Ruese
    February 7, 2014

    The existing intelligent design are losers in a sense that they allow evolutionists to use evolution against them, when the matter of fact is evolution is just a couple of mechanisms that lead to the formation of matter. This does not rule out the possibility of the design vs. pure chance because the creator can be using these mechanisms himself, if there is such.

    Evolution can even explain how irreducibly complex microbiological structures evolved to produce the impression of a possible existence of an entity that created and formed matter. A logical conclusion regarding this assumption would be that these structures were reduced to efficiency from more complex structures with constituent parts that were eventually eliminated by the mechanism of natural selection for being useless. This is my personal realization. Evolution does produce efficiency.

    The rest of their arguments are legitimate. And seeing what’s going on without testing empirically is not a bad method because what would you be testing your observations against anyway? Against the real?

  77. #77 dean
    February 7, 2014

    “The existing intelligent design are loser in a sense because …”

    They are losers because, despite the fact that they claim to be doing science, they aren’t: no new discoveries, no verifiable explanations, nothing added to the understanding of the universe.

    They are dishonest when they try to claim ID is pushed for any reason other than introducing (bad) theological statements into science classrooms.

  78. #78 Michael Fugate
    February 7, 2014

    Reuse, “seeing what’ going on” – and you accuse me of “limited expertise and education” – what bollocks! This is not a method; it is acts as if observation is independent of well everything. We are blank slates – what we know now influences what we see and how we see it. Please read up on some learning theory before making silly comments.

    So the designer male – I thought you didn’t know anything about it?

  79. #79 Sean T
    February 7, 2014

    Reuse,

    You don’t test your observations; observations simply are. You test your conclusions that you derive from those observations. You likely are making conclusions based on your observations without even thinking about the fact that you are doing so. Consider, suppose you observe an apple sitting on a wooden table. “I see an apple sitting on a wooden table” is NOT an observation; that is a conclusion. A better description of your observation would be “I perceive a patch of red that is roughly circular in shape. Below this I perceive what appears to be a large, flat, brown surface.” It is only your experience with tables and apples that leads to you conclude that it is and apple sitting on a table and not, for instance a deformed red ball sitting on a brown carpet, or even some type of hallucination.

    To test a conclusion then, requires working through the consequences of that conclusion to determine what observations would be seen if the orginal conclusion were true. For instance, you might reason that if the round red patch that you perceive actually is an apple, then if you touch the red patch with your hand, it will be solid. If you close your hand on it and raise your arm, you will pick up the object, and if you move your hand to your mouth and close your jaw down on the red patch, you will hear a crunching noise, feel juice coming out of the object, and perceive a sweet taste with the taste sensors in your mouth. If you actually do this, and these predictions are true, you become more justified in believing that the red patch actually is an apple. If one or more of these predictions turns out to be false, you must revise your original conclusion; it’s not an apple.

    Now, obviously, an example such as this is trivial and ridiculous. However, it begs the question to say “I perceive design by looking at things.” How do you perceive design? What feature of an object indicates design? If you do look a system and conclude design, what additional observations can you make to confirm or deny your conclusion of design? Without considerations such as this, I have no reason other than your bald assertion that “system X is designed” to actually believe that to be the case. You can surely understand why your argument that this system is designed is less than persuasive to most of us.

  80. #80 John
    February 7, 2014

    Blaine @75
    Thanks. My memory is not completely gone.
    Actually, the difference in the approaches of Newton and Liebniz was( I think) Newton went just a bit beyond the known models and added so unexplained data. (My point) Liebniz wanted the whole hog and went into some very difficult for his time issues.
    However, now that the relationist issues Liebniz was trying to address have been addressed with special and general relativity, I have on my todo list to take another look at Liebniz.

  81. #81 John
    February 7, 2014

    The Dover court case found the “smoking gun” that linked YEC and religion to ID. That is ID was found to be little more than the religion of creationism trying to get into the classroom by claiming it was a science.

    Now with the Nye-Ham debate, it seems the target is devout
    Christians who stress the Bible. Perhaps their numbers can get ID in the classroom.

    So science must debate ID and include the place of religion in our society.

  82. #82 Kevin
    February 7, 2014

    @15 “However, the phenomena that cannot be tested, but are suspected to exist, and periodically throw you out of your solid atheist scientific mind frame, are being intentionally brushed off or ignored”

    yeah!! like.. dark energy and dark matter.. this stuff is suspected to exist because of some hints and measurements… BUT NOBODY is trying to test this at all. There are no experiments, no tests.. no results for anyone to review and make changes to the theories people keep spewing out there..

    nothing has been sent into space to measure certain anomalous behavior and ratios.. not even attached to the ISS.. or buried underground..

    waaaa waaaaa…

  83. #83 eric
    February 7, 2014

    Reuse

    This does not rule out the possibility of the design

    Correct, evolution does not rule out the possibility of design. What rules out design (tentatively, and this conclusion is subject to revision if new evidence arises) is the profound lack of any evidence of a designer.

    seeing what’s going on without testing empirically is not a bad method because what would you be testing your observations against anyway? Against the real?

    Yes, you would be testing against the real. You would be testing whether your ‘inference-based speculation’ represents something that actually occurs or occured, and if not, you could conclude that your inference-based speculation was wrong.

    If you do not test your speculation about the world against the world, how do you know if it’s right or wrong?

  84. #84 Michael Fugate
    February 7, 2014

    Reuse, science is just a tool that allows us to objectively evaluate our subjective experiences. This doesn’t mean that subjective experiences aren’t real – only that they aren’t very reliable. Our senses often allow us to be fooled and we need to check them against reality. Find a page of optical illusions and try them out. Or why do you think geocentrism with a stationary earth was the paradigm for so long? We don’t think we are moving through space. ID is a common sense argument – things don’t build themselves, but agents do.

  85. #85 Ça alors!
    February 8, 2014

    Ruese, I think I agree with you in a sense but your proposition doesn’t even require a creator… If the Universe at some point organizes itself so that it produces more and more self-aware organic machines through an evolutional process (i.e. : trial and error), well, that may be just the idea…

    But by increasing self-awareness to a certain level, like in humans for instance, the Universe has no choice but to express an irreducible characteristic that is part of itself, a characteristic that never began and can’t never end. And that is what most religions are trying to deal with (and fail in a general way).

    And because science can’t address this now due to some technological and philosophical reasons, it has to, if it wants to keep some coherence, reject what is beyond our senses (and this, even if the M theory relies on dimensions that are WAY beyond our senses…)

  86. #86 Jason Rosenhouse
    February 8, 2014

    couchloc–

    This doesn’t fit with my understanding. I just looked and found this article which almost repeats my original post word-for-word, and characterizes the difference between creationism and ID as I did. This doesn’t settle the issue about Klinghoffer since it’s hard to tell what his view is from his post, but it does suggest one way of understanding his comments.

    In the end, the ID folks make effectively the same distinction as the YEC’s. The ID’s are adamant that as far as their science is concerned, they can make no statement at all about who the designer is. Could be God, could be aliens. Separately from that, one can ask about the religious implications of their science.

    Both are saying that they are doing straight up science that just happens to have some relevance to religious questions. And both are full of it!

    Of course, I think that evolution is straight up science that just happens to have some consequences for religion. The difference is that with ID and YEC the scientific talk was simply invented as a cover for a religious agenda. That is not the case with evolution, no matter how often the creationists say otherwise.

  87. #87 Qweet
    February 8, 2014

    @79

    “Now, obviously, an example such as this is trivial and ridiculous. However, it begs the question to say “I perceive design by looking at things.” How do you perceive design? What feature of an object indicates design?”

    How do you perceive that somebody is an idiot?

  88. #88 Qweet
    February 8, 2014

    @85

    “Ruese, I think I agree with you in a sense but your proposition doesn’t even require a creator…”

    My position does not impose the concept of the creator. It speculates and infers the possibility of the existence of a creator or some other entity that possibly created the universe or whatever else it might be.

    Remember that the theory of evolution was observation and inference based only when Lamarck and later Charles Darwin first observed it. No genetic tests were available at the time to confirm his SUSPICIONS and speculation that humans and chimps, for instance, evolved from a common ancestor and have only around %5 genetic difference. Thus, there is nothing wrong with observing a new phenomenon and considering the possibility that the phenomenon you’re observing might be THE phenomenon you’re speculating it to be.

  89. #89 Doctor Biobrain
    February 9, 2014

    Bill Nye obviously lost the debate, because he didn’t repeatedly insult creationists at every opportunity, but instead gave thoughtful answers that underscored why the creationists were wrong and why science has the better answers. And I’ve had so many atheists insist to me that insults are the only thing that works, so it can only be that Nye screwed up. He should have started off by calling Ham an idiot that believes in fairy tales before throwing off the gloves and getting really tough. That’s the only path to victory.

    Joking. Seriously though, I wish more people would follow Nye’s example on how to debate. Because sure, he was never going to persuade Ham to change his mind, particularly not during the debate itself. But at least he didn’t come off like a total asshead by hurling insults at every turn. Because the only thing insults do is to make the insulter and their allies feel better, while turning everyone else off and making any sort of reconciliation harder. Who wants to admit that they’re wrong to someone who boxed them into a corner and insulted them repeatedly? No one. It’s just human nature to hold on to your wrong opinion, particularly to someone who insulted them. It’s simply impossible to insult someone into agreeing with you. It’s never happened and I doubt it ever will.

    Besides, if the best you’ve got is to insult god and those that believe in him, then you don’t really have much to say anyway. Insults are easy. Persuasion is very difficult. But if you think it’s impossible, then you’re not doing it right.

  90. #90 Doctor Biobrain
    February 9, 2014

    Qweet (or Ruese or whoever), you’re correct in saying that it’s possible that some being may have created the universe. Big Foot, for example. Or aliens from a different universe. Or Ra. Science has not ruled that out whatsoever.

    But the mistake you’re making is in thinking that the role of science is to accept everything as being possible until it’s been disproven. But that’s exactly backwards. Science doesn’t accept anything until there’s proof. And that’s why we accept evolution, while the origin of the universe is still an unknown, because one has been proven and the other has not. Sure, we have a few theories that rely on other parts of science, but since gods or aliens aren’t part of science, they can’t be included. And if we want to include gods or aliens as a scientific theory, we first have to prove they exist. That’s just how it works. You can’t put the cart before the horse by saying that Big Foot created the universe until you first prove that he’s real.

    So sure, go ahead and theorize about the possibility that some being or beings created the universe and set the evolutionary process in motion. Science hasn’t ruled out that possibility at all. But until you’ve got a theory that can be tested repeatedly, it’s not a scientific theory and therefore isn’t part of science. Because again, a theory isn’t considered true until proven false. It’s false until it’s been proven true. Without proof, it ain’t science.

    At it’s most basic, science is a method for determining truth, and one of its limitations is that it can only accept truth that can be tested. And if that means there are truths that science misses, so be it. Science isn’t about learning all truth. Just the truth that can be verified. Why? Because that’s only kind of truth you can really trust, and even that’s not much ground to stand on. But it’s the best we’ve got.

    Life might all be a pipedream, but at least there are certain rules that remain consistent and those are the ones we trust and call science.

  91. #91 Qweet
    February 9, 2014

    @90

    “Science doesn’t accept anything until there’s proof.”

    It’s really irrelevant what science accepts. Just because there is no proof of a phenomenon, it doesn’t mean the phenomenon is not there, particularly, knowing that the scientific method is limited only to certain things. Our complex universe might require more than one method, that haven’t been discovered yet, in order to be able to know what is out there, what it is and what is going on.

    Scientific grid does provide great insulation and protection from some observed phenomena that fall out of that grid, in case you find them too bothersome. But if you are lucky enough not to have stumbled upon something the scientific method cannot concretesize, may be you should just stay where you are.

    The method of “seeing what’s going on” is an improvement to the scientific method, and not backwardness, if you really need the truth. It’s less restrictive and limiting. It simply means that you observe something without hypothesizing or testing. Some things can be quite obvious.

    You cannot prove empirically that trees produce fruit to protect themselves from destruction. You can only speculate that. Many scientific hypothesis are no different than religious speculations. You see the universe as something that came into existence by accident, but you cannot prove that that’s the case. Otherwise, this would shut the mouths of religious people, who believe in creation, for good, . It’s just as much of a speculation as the designed universe.

  92. #92 Ruese
    February 9, 2014

    If scientists have empirical proof for evolution, then it should be enough for everyone to be able to accept it as an actual phenomenon whether they think it’s evil or not.

    I guess the problem here is that it’s an inference-based conclusion or, at least, it was initially inference-based when it was first observed, without the actual proof, due to the fact that genetic testing has become available only recently. It seems that scientific speculations even if proven empirically later, are not unanimously trusted. It’s outrageous!!!

    P.S. And, by all means, you can definitely see that Qweet and Ruese are the same person.

  93. #93 eric
    February 9, 2014

    Reuse

    the theory of evolution was observation and inference based only when Lamarck and later Charles Darwin first observed it. No genetic tests were available at the time to confirm his SUSPICIONS and speculation that humans and chimps, for instance, evolved from a common ancestor

    It was more than just speculation; evolution explained what Darwin’s time knew about biogeographical distribution too.

    But you do point out something important, and which weighs against proposals of the supernatural. Its this: after Darwin’s proposed theory, it was up to him and others to go collect evidence to support it. The modern TOE doesn’t owe it’s acceptance to ‘Darwin speculated it,’ it owes its acceptance to all the evidence collected since it was proposed.
    But the same goes for God proposals and supernatural proposals; if they are going to be accepted, it’s not going to be on “Reuse speculated it” or “Qweet proposed it.” Its going to be on the evidence you and people like you collect to support your proposals.

    Got any? Evidence, that is?

  94. #94 Michael Fugate
    February 9, 2014

    The evidence for evolution in 1859 was enormous – biogeography, comparative anatomy and embryology, fossil record, animal breeding, etc. That Darwin didn’t fully understand genetics was not an impediment to accepting evolution – it was just a question that needed answering. In fact Mendelian genetics when rediscovered at the turn of the 20th century was actually an problem for natural selection and small incremental change. It took population genetics in the 20s and 30s to figure all that out.

    Ponder for a moment the enormous strides in understanding of evolution that have occurred in the past 200 years and compare it too our understanding of the supernatural and gods (i.e. intelligent designers) over the past 20,000. Which do you think is a better method, science or theology?

  95. #95 Doctor Biobrain
    February 10, 2014

    Qweet, you’re just repeating what I wrote. Because you’re right. The scientific method has its limits, and there very well might be things that are true, but which can’t be proven with science. I agree with that completely.

    But what else is there? What else besides the scientific method can we really trust? Our feelings? The things our parents taught us? What the guys on the radio say? The things from a four thousand year old oral tradition? Are those trustworthy sources? How? Science might not be perfect, but it’s by far the best we’ve got.

    Because hey, I’m all for learning the truth. And if I found out that the Koran was right and Allah really will reward me with seventy-six virgins if I martyr myself I’m all for it. But…I need proof first. I’m not going to take the word of some human on this. I need real evidence, or I won’t do jack. I’m sure you’re the same way. Would you martyr yourself for Allah unless you had proof that he was real? Of course not. You’d want proof too.

    And that’s what science is really all about: Proof. And you’ve either got it, or you don’t. Because you’re right. They haven’t yet figured out how the universe was created. But the difference is that all of their guesses are based on known principles that have been proven. And until gods, aliens, or Big Foot become proven to exist, they can’t be part if a scientific theory.

    And again, if you want to postulate that gods, aliens, or some other intelligent being created the universe, you first have to show that such beings exist. That’s not to say they don’t exist, but only that you need to prove it, or your theory isn’t scientific. Science can guess, but even the guesses have to involve known science. Otherwise you’re just making things up.

  96. #96 Qweet
    February 10, 2014

    @95
    [Because hey, I’m all for learning the truth. And if I found out that the Koran was right and Allah really will reward me with seventy-six virgins if I martyr myself I’m all for it. But…I need proof first. I’m not going to take the word of some human on this. I need real evidence, or I won’t do jack. I’m sure you’re the same way.]

    Science does provide protection from these kind of beliefs that cannot be proven either true or untrue. The argument, by the way, exploited by many religions and thus allowing them to propagate themselves and brainwash people. You definitely don’t want to be burned at the stake for being suspected of being a witch. That’s where you would need to tell people to stick to the scientific method and facts. You are also talking about the truth in terms of your interaction with other humans. However, the truth, especially in the scientific sense, must exist outside people as well, logically speaking. Having the kind of truth that protects you from people, who are trying to exercise and practice their beliefs on you, such as human sacrifice, for instance, is one thing. But the truth that exists outside people and outside what they think or believe or even observe, which can also be very limited, even with the limited scientific method, might be completely different. Especially with the biggest picture taken into account.

    I think privately you can always step outside, particularly if you’ve notice something unusual, and conduct your own investigation of what’s going on, and for the safety’s sake, perhaps, keep it to yourself. And there is nothing wrong with that. Perhaps, it’s one of the secrets of science. But so far science is the law and let it remain that. (Hopefully, not that many people understand what I write) :)

  97. #97 eric
    February 10, 2014

    Qweet:

    the truth that exists outside people and outside what they think or believe or even observe, which can also be very limited, even with the limited scientific method, might be completely different.

    It might be, but I don’t see any reason to use a different method until you show that a different method works better. Based on past record and experience, things like intuition and revelation work less well for telling us the truth. Unless you have some evidence for them working that we don’t know about?

    I think privately you can always step outside, particularly if you’ve notice something unusual, and conduct your own investigation of what’s going on

    Sure. If you and Reuse are simply arguing that you be allowed to conduct your own investigations, that’s fine. In fact, you are already allowed to do so; modern western society and the scientific establishment both give you that freedom. But IMO the “science is flawed” argument – whether it’s coming from philosophers, theologians, or pseudoscientsts – is typically trying to imply that scientists ought to be doing their investigations differently, or paying attention to nonscientific findings. And that’s not something scientists are willing to do until someone brings in some pretty strong evidence that some other method works better.
    To use an analogy – you can quarterback your own team from your armchair, and I don’t mind at all. But if you want to quarterback my team from your armchair, you are first going to have to show me a very strong record of what I consider to be successes.

  98. #98 Qweet
    February 10, 2014

    @97

    [It might be, but I don’t see any reason to use a different method until you show that a different method works better.]

    The scientific method lead to the creation of its own worldview, and this is very important to realize. The scientific method can only detect what CAN be detected by it. The religious method, which is the faith method, lead to the creation of (a) different worldview(s). My proposed method was “seeing what’s going on”, which presupposes no hypothesizing, testing or labelling linguistically. This method works great even in treating mental illness cognitively, and seeing things for what they are without creating biases through labelling and projecting or forcing speculations on the observable. This method might lead to the creation of a worldview that would allow exploring the world in a broader spectrum. You will still be able to use the scientific method where it applies.

  99. #99 eric
    February 10, 2014

    My proposed method was “seeing what’s going on”, which presupposes no hypothesizing, testing or labelling linguistically.

    It presupposes hypothesizing, because in order to decide what to observe you have to hypothesize. You say it’s good for mental illness. Do you observe the person? The phase of the moon? Tomorrow’s lottery numbers? Answering that question requires that you hypothesize about which observations are likely to be relevant to a person’s mental illness and which are not.

    This method works great even in treating mental illness cognitively, and seeing things for what they are without creating biases through labelling and projecting or forcing speculations on the observable.

    How do you know it works great at those thnigs, if you haven’t tested it? How did you measure it’s greatness?

  100. #100 Another Matt
    United States
    February 10, 2014

    In other words, in order to solve the frame problem, one has to hypothesize. I love Dennett’s thought experiment (quoted in the link):

    imagine a robot designed to fetch a spare battery from a room that also contained a time bomb. Version 1 saw that the battery was on a wagon and that if it pulled the wagon out of the room, the battery would come with it. Unfortunately, the bomb was also on the wagon, and the robot failed to deduce that pulling the wagon out brought the bomb out, too. Version 2 was programmed to consider all the side effects of its actions. It had just finished computing that pulling the wagon would not change the color of the room’s walls and was proving that the wheels would turn more revolutions than there are wheels on the wagon, when the bomb went off. Version 3 was programmed to distinguish between relevant implications and irrelevant ones. It sat there cranking out millions of implications and putting all the relevant ones on a list of facts to consider and all the irrelevant ones on a list of facts to ignore, as the bomb ticked away.

    Version 2 of the robot is the one that is “just seeing what is going on.”

  101. #101 Michael Fugate
    February 10, 2014

    Qweet, just repeating over and over that mindless observation is a method for understanding anything is getting you nowhere. For one, it is bogus; it is not how any organism approaches the world. Prior experience is always taken into account. Please try to catch up.

  102. #102 Qweet
    February 10, 2014

    @100

    “Version 2 of the robot is the one that is “just seeing what is going on”

    We are talking about seeing the ultimate truth. There is nothing wrong with that, if you want it. Some people don’t, and they have their reasons for it. Perhaps, they think it’s more important to protect themselves from psychological and mental destruction, if the truth is too difficult to face and handle, than seeing it. Technically, breaking through cognitive biases that forced hypotheses and speculations create, and seeing things for what they are, IS possible. Don’t forget that scientific hypothesizes have also been constantly replaced by different observers for one and the same speculation.

    IF you talking about science-fictional robots that surpass humans both in intelligence, abilities, talents and everything else outside human nature, do employ this method of “seeing what’s going on”, and it does lead to the production of simplified but more advanced technology, among many other things. Aliens, whether real, if there are, or as imagined by humans, are also in the same exploration mode. Their range of “vision” is much broader, and allows them to see parallel realities, extra dimensions, enter other/alien dimensions, travel in time… which many humans have already reported doing. And whether you believe these people or not, depends on how criminogenic and/or delusional humans seem to you.

    I also forgot to mention the science-fictional worldview, which is a real worldview. It could be absolutely natural. In some cases, when people start falling out of the scientific box, as represented by the Borg cube in ‘Star Trek”, either due to mental illness or wild imagination, science fiction provides a great variety of explanations for what it is that these people might be experiencing. Technically, you can push yourself back into the scientific box again, but it requires too much cognitive brain work. As soon as things stop adding up, you naturally fall out again.

  103. #103 Qweet
    February 10, 2014

    @Michael Fugate

    Do you even understand what this method does? You never gave me your constructive criticism of it, you never argued why it inapplicable and leads nowhere. Do you feel threatened outside the realm of science? In this case, it’s understandable, and bullying is usually indicative of the fact that something established has been or might be undermined. Nothing more than that really.

    “Prior experience is always taken into account.”

    It’s the method, for the most part, that leads to experience. If you are employing the scientific method, you are always going to be in the same exploration mode, unless you change it or add some other reliable method to it. Plus, experience can be easily forgotten including the absorbed knowledge/observations and ideas of other people. Humans have the capacity to live in the mode I proposed. You can definitely employ the scientific method as well wherever it’s applicable.

    And the reason why I keep repeating the same thing is because you make me. I noticed that people on this blog, due to their inability to see what they read, or some human nature issues, perhaps, have a tendency to walk over ideas that act or can act as divergence points. I guess, this is the way to keep this “never-ending” debate going.

  104. #104 Another Matt
    February 10, 2014

    And the reason why I keep repeating the same thing is because you make me. I noticed that people on this blog, due to their inability to see what they read, or some human nature issues, perhaps, have a tendency to walk over ideas that act or can act as divergence points. I guess, this is the way to keep this “never-ending” debate going.

    Qweet, quite honestly half the time I can’t parse your language, sometimes for grammar, but more often for content. So let’s say we either misunderstand each other — usually this calls for a new approach involving examples.

    Here’s a rather broad one:
    My brother claims that God used to reveal the future to him in dreams. This ceased for the most part about 4 years ago. 4 years ago he also quit smoking marijuana.

    We wish to evaluate his claims. Are his claims true? What, in your view, would be the scientific way of making such an evaluation? And what would the “seeing what’s going on” method entail in this case? What specific actions would you take to evaluate his claims using SWGO?

  105. #105 eric
    February 10, 2014

    Do you even understand what this method does?

    No. I want to and I’m trying to understand what it does. You’re in a room. There’s a mentally ill person in front of you. There are also tables, chairs, windows, an overhead lamp, etc. You’re trying to find out something about mental illness. How do you decide what things to pay attention to without any hypothesis? Do you stare at the lamp? Out the window? Do you plug your ears and hum to see what it sounds like? You see Qweet, you cannot decide what things to pay attention to without first having an hypothesis about what is relevant. And that means that what you’re doing is basically science’s first step, but without any of the additional steps and without the formal rigor.

    Also, you keep saying that this method of yours works great but you don’t tell us how you arrived at that conclusion. It works great because…you tried it and it cured someone’s OCD? Because it sounds nifty? Because you intuit that it ought to work great? How do you know it works great?

  106. #106 Michael Fugate
    February 10, 2014

    How about a peer-reviewed paper on the method? Surely one is available.

  107. #107 Qweet
    February 10, 2014

    “Qweet, quite honestly half the time I can’t parse your language, sometimes for grammar, but more often for content. So let’s say we either misunderstand each other — usually this calls for a new approach involving examples.”

    Great!!! Bullying is in place. It’s a good sign.

    The first thing you need to do is to establish whether your brother is more likely to relay an actual account of what happens or make it up to attract attention. Let’s assume that what he relayed to you was true. Let’s suppose that marihuana, as a brain stimulant that can change the chemicals in your brain, and get you in a higher state of consciousness, opens up wormholes in the brain that connect you with the alleged god in order to establish divine communication. Though some people report that it can be possible and happens without substance use as well. Since it’s been 4 years, the future that the alleged god foretold for your brother, can, at this point and time, be the past or the last, at least, 4 years going back in time. Ask your brother, if the forecasted events did indeed take place. Did anything transpire the way it was predicted? How vivid were the dreams? Was there any tangibility or perfect uniformity in the dream? Ask him to describe the god seen? (Some inferences can be made around this as well, though jumping to conclusions could be futile)

    If some or all of the foretold did transpire, there are multiple possibilities:
    1. It’s a coincidence
    2.It’s his subconscious mind – the work of the brain during REM that figured out future outcomes of some of his actions.
    3. Imagination that led him to wanting god to exist and, therefore, manifested in his dream…
    4. God, if such exists, did come to him in his dream, although according to Scriptures, foretelling future is a sin and is unnecessary. Thus, it might’ve been another entity, if there is such, posing as god and suggesting and, thus, forcing outcomes on the future…This is as far as the scientific hypothesizing goes, also encompassing the speculation of Theory of the Intelligent Design and Ancient Aliens.

    This brings us to another possibility that there are multiple truths out there, with each having its own respective explanation. Each truth is consistent with its worldview. If there is not one universal/objective/ultimate truth, than it would be advisable to remain in one worldview only.

    Looking at this “occasion” through the prism of the “seeing what’s going on” method, one should see:
    1. all of the possibilities that are known
    2. the ultimate truth, if there is such, which would lead to one definitive conclusion
    3. the truth that emerges in the worldview that was formed through the “seeing what’s going on method” only. It would be best, if the actual observer, in which case your brother, could apply this method to see what happened to him. Relying on your own faculties and seeing what’s going on yourself first is more important than proving to others.

  108. #108 eric
    February 10, 2014

    This brings us to another possibility that there are multiple truths out there, with each having its own respective explanation. Each truth is consistent with its worldview. If there is not one universal/objective/ultimate truth, than it would be advisable to remain in one worldview only.

    Oh, I disagree. I think it would be much more advisable to be in the dope-tells-me-the-future worldview when it is time to pick lottery numbers, then switch over to the science-understands-physics worldview when I board a plane. If worldviews alter truth, I want access to all of them. That seems to me far more advisable than using any single one of them.

    Looking at this “occasion” through the prism of the “seeing what’s going on” method, one should see:
    1. all of the possibilities that are known
    2. the ultimate truth, if there is such, which would lead to one definitive conclusion

    I think Another Matt was specifically asking you to tell us #2 for his story. What is the definitive conclusion that you draw using your method on AM’s story?

  109. #109 Another Matt
    February 10, 2014

    Qweet — I surely did not intend to bully you, and I’m sorry if it seemed that way. What I meant is more that a lot of the disagreement seems to be that most of us can’t seem to understand what you’re trying to say. This could be our fault, or yours, or some combination of the two, but I don’t think it’s because of any ill will or refusal to entertain the arguments.

    I actually am less interested in the definitive conclusion than I am about the methodology. I couldn’t tell whether the paragraph beginning “The first thing you need to do…” was an explanation of the SWGO method, or the — in your view — more limited scientific method (since I asked for both). I assumed “scientific,” since the four possibilities you list are all hypotheses, and testable in principle. So I’ll forego comment on that until further clarification.

    I can comment on this, however:

    Looking at this “occasion” through the prism of the “seeing what’s going on” method, one should see:
    1. all of the possibilities that are known
    2. the ultimate truth, if there is such, which would lead to one definitive conclusion
    3. the truth that emerges in the worldview that was formed through the “seeing what’s going on method” only. It would be best, if the actual observer, in which case your brother, could apply this method to see what happened to him. Relying on your own faculties and seeing what’s going on yourself first is more important than proving to others.

    1. “all of the possibilities that are known” — OK, but how does one figure this out, and which possibilities are relevant? Perhaps the pot was a red herring, and what was really causing it was a combination of the specific brand of bologna he was eating for lunch, the velvet wolf poster on his wall, his desire to be a prophet, and the Pink Floyd album he listened to weekly. You could test all of those, but as Eric has been pointing out all along, there is an infinity of possibilities and any method leading to truth (or Truth) will need to cull almost all of them. You can’t test everything.

    2. I agree that there ought to be a single true account of the situation.

    3. If I’m understanding what you’re saying correctly, my brother has already “seen what is going on,” according to him, by relying on his own faculties — an unseen and unheard God sent him some dreams which came true, e.g. a dream about a specific homeless person he would meet, and which came true on 4/20 (pot day). I’m asking how SWGO would go about adjudicating between his explanation and one of the four possibilities you list, or dèjá vu, or aliens, or an incarnate, psychic Sherlock Holmes, or whatever.

  110. #110 Qweet
    February 10, 2014

    “If I’m understanding what you’re saying correctly, my brother has already “seen what is going on,” according to him, by relying on his own faculties — an unseen and unheard God sent him some dreams which came true, e.g. a dream about a specific homeless person he would meet, and which came true on 4/20 (pot day). I’m asking how SWGO would go about adjudicating between his explanation and one of the four possibilities you list, or dèjá vu, or aliens, or an incarnate, psychic Sherlock Holmes, or whatever.”

    Your bullying and idiocy aside…

    First of all, I wouldn’t trust dreams when it comes to ascertaining the ultimate truth. Furthermore, it’s only a speculation to think that dreams were sent to him by god. Second of all, there is still a slight possibility than your brother made up the story. And even with this aside, the probability of meeting a homeless person is very high, particularly, these days, and please don’t be anal about how I was able to infer that. Logically speaking, if there is god, he/she/it shouldn’t manifest their existence to you in ways that can be interpreted in many different ways, as it can only lead to confusion. Even if it was a real prediction by whoever/whatever, these type of predictions are unreliable. Another possibility is that you do not need to know or you are not required to know of god’s existence at all, if there is such. Hopefully, it’s your choice as to whether you want to know your future or not, if there is god. If it was indeed god, who found a way to convince your brother of his existence, it might happen to you as well, thus, your brother does not need to act as a prophet, meaning that you do not need to adjust your worldview in accordance with his dreams. Plus, imagine if you were in isolation, without the contact with people, you would be seeing only your inner truth and outer truth outside people. Therefore, their experiences and speculations might be irrelevant as far as you are concerned.

    And, please, acquire self-awareness of your abusiveness. You are real barbarians!!!

  111. #111 Another Matt
    February 10, 2014

    Look, it’s really not my intention to bully you, and I’m trying my damnedest to be civil. If I’m failing, can you tell me specifically what was so nasty in my latest post? I do want to know if and how I’m falling short of the mark, since bullying is about my least favorite thing in the world.

    PS — do you feel any conflict in simultaneously accusing me of “bullying” and “idiocy”? The latter makes me think you aren’t that serious about the former; you’ll notice I haven’t done anything like calling you an idiot, and I don’t think anyone else here has either.

  112. #112 Qweet
    February 10, 2014

    @111

    “Look, it’s really not my intention to bully you, and I’m trying my damnedest to be civil.”

    Thanks for the clarification.

  113. #113 eric
    February 10, 2014

    Qweet:

    First of all, I wouldn’t trust dreams when it comes to ascertaining the ultimate truth.

    That’s an hypothesis!

    it’s only a speculation to think that dreams were sent to him by god

    Yes.

    Second of all, there is still a slight possibility than your brother made up the story.

    Yes.

    And even with this aside, the probability of meeting a homeless person is very high,

    …and yes! Those are all possibilities. A scientist would say, “let’s figure out a test that rules some of them out, distinguishes between them, or otherwise gives us more confidence that one of them is true.” So we are all curious to know, what does your method tell you to do with these four possibilities?

    Logically speaking, if there is god, he/she/it shouldn’t manifest their existence to you in ways that can be interpreted in many different ways, as it can only lead to confusion.

    Another hypothesis! Perhaps the issue is that you don’t understand what scientists consider to be hypotheses, because while you say your method doesn’t use them, you seem to be using them left and right. An hypothesis is just a premise or ‘starting’ claim that you make in order to help you decide what to do next. They don’t have to be ironclad and lots of them turn out to be wrong, but they at least let you move forward with your investigation. Assuming that a God would have the property “doesn’t send confusing messages” is an hypothesis, because it tells you what sort of future evidence would be consistent with or not consistent with the idea of God you’re trying to investigate.

  114. #114 Walt Jones
    February 11, 2014

    Qweet: asking for evidence is not bullying. Refusing to supply evidence to support your assertions is intellectually dishonest. Retreating to accusations of bullying – again without supplying evidence – is arguing ad hominen. If I missed where you supplied evidence, please list the comment numbers.

  115. #115 Ça alors!
    February 12, 2014

    The superstring theory exists because some people wanted to resolve the contradiction between quantum physics and the general law of relativity. In order to do that, they had to add 7 dimensions that can’t be seen to the 4th we daily experience. Adding 7 dimensions is necessary to keep the equations together and keep a general coherence. Not only that, the strings in questions may never be found due to their nature!

    That doesn’t prevent the superstring theory to be a serious contender for the TOE…

    Just saying…

  116. #116 Another Matt
    February 12, 2014

    And how many scientists currently believe it to be anything more than a very intriguing prospect awaiting evidence? “Our most promising coherent theory” does not mean “the theory which has supplanted Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity.” We know that the last word on physics has not been spoken, and relevant speculation is worthwhile so long as it takes into account whatever else we know and either incorporates it or shows where it might have gone wrong. If nothing can be done to test it, either in principle or in reality, it will never be a definitive TOE, but an overdetermined theory that hasn’t taken us past where we already were.

  117. #117 Ça alors!
    February 12, 2014

    I agree with you. But as I can understand the superstring theory, it won’t supplant Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity but integrate them into a newer and wider picture.

    And I would make a parallel with the theory of Evolution. A lot of people are saying that the Theory of Evolution excludes necessary an irreducible intelligence and I just can’t see why, specially if you don’t stick to religious dogma and don’t insist on some guiding process.

    And just like the Einstein couldn’t think about the Superstring Theory, there are big chances that the Theory of Evolution will be transformed by a better understanding of some biological process and by a philosophical shift that appears because of the new ideas and progress societies are making in general…

  118. #118 eric
    February 12, 2014

    Ca alors!

    A lot of people are saying that the Theory of Evolution excludes necessary an irreducible intelligence and I just can’t see why,

    Well i’m not sure what irreducibility has to do with it, but if these people are saying “the TOE doesn’t allow for designers,” they’re wrong. It absolutely allows for them. We are pretty sure, for example, that dogs are a result of intelligently designed breeding schemes – with humans as the designers. But we conclude “designed” in the case of dogs because we have evidence of designers being involved in dog adaptation.
    What the theory of evolution does not do, however, is assume designers are responsible when we have some unexplained phenomena. Science is only going to reach a “designed” conclusion when we have positive evidence of the intervention of a designer.

  119. #119 Ça alors!
    February 12, 2014

    I wrote just after: “I just can’t see why, specially if you don’t stick to religious dogma and don’t insist on some guiding process.”

    An irreducible intelligence doesn’t even require a guiding process or a design to produce evolutive patterns, it would just need to be creative.

  120. #120 Sean T
    February 12, 2014

    Ca alors,

    I am not sure that anyone is really saying that evolution is incompatible with religion, per se. The argument Jason and others have made is that evolution is incompatible, or at least antogonistic toward, the religious beliefs of many Christians. Evolution is certainly compatible with deities, but those deities would have to have characterisitcs that typically are not associated with the Christian god concept, which is a personal, interventionist deity.A deity who set the universe up and let it run its course, for instance, is perfectly compatible with evolution, but not with the belief system of most Christians.

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