Stupid is as stupid does

DaveScot, apparently just having figured out PZ Myers’ first name, has a problem:

I have a problem with these people in that they arbitrarily limit what science can potentially explain. The so called supernatural remains supernatural only as long as there?s no metric by which to measure it. Once a metric is discovered the supernatural becomes the natural.

The limits on science are not arbitrary. Science cannot study the supernatural. IDolators like to claim that people are arbitrarily limiting science to testable hypotheses about the natural world, but those limitations come from the nature of science.

You cannot make a testable hypothesis about the supernatural because it isn’t bound by natural laws. Without anything implicitly lawlike, there’s nothing predictable, and no tests are possible.

It’s true that things once considered supernatural are now seen as natural, but this is precisely what ID advocates rail against in the Wedge Document and in the Kangaroo Court two springs ago. ID is an attempt to redefine science, and that is DaveScot’s problem.

Comments

  1. #1 J-Dog
    November 22, 2006

    Stupid is as stupid does, but DaveScot stupid goes clear to the bone!

  2. #2 Ahcuah
    November 22, 2006

    You cannot make a testable hypothesis about the supernatural because it isn’t bound by natural laws.

    This statement is demonstrably wrong. For instance:

    “God appears as an image in my backyard at 4:00 every afternoon.”

    This is an eminently testable hypothesis about the supernatural nature of God. In fact, it is the whole set of such testable hypotheses that have relegated God to the gaps.

    However, even if some sort of supernatural agency existed, we’d take the unpredicability and apply some sort of statistical measure to it to make it natural. But, so far, there is no evidence for that.

  3. #3 Larry Fafarman
    November 22, 2006

    So if scientists insist on sticking to testable hypotheses, then why don’t scientists just admit it when science has not explained something, e.g., evolution? Scientists want to limit science but refuse to stick to science’s limitations. They want to have their cake and eat it too.

    And the Kangaroo Court was not in Kansas but was in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

  4. #4 Dave S.
    November 22, 2006

    No, you cannot empirically test that which is by definition outside of the bounds of testing. Science is not a philosophy thats fun to talk about but doesn’t have relevance to anything. Its an actual tool used to study nature, and like any tool, is not limitless in application.

    There were things once seen as supernatural (but were later assigned to the natural category), but this was not because there was some sort of supernatural metric. They were thought to be supernatural merely because no natural explanation existed or could even be envisioned. History has shown again and again that this strategy eventually fails, when others with more data or more imagination find a natural mechanism hitherto unthought. The assignation of “supernatural” is not only not an explanation…it actually stymies the search for an explanation. It’s worse than useless. ID has this very same problem. It’s worse than useless.

  5. #5 Ahcuah
    November 22, 2006

    Dave S. wrote:

    It’s worse than useless. ID has this very same problem. It’s worse than useless.

    Baloney. ID is testable. And it fails.

    When things, like cars, are designed, new innovations like automatic transmissions or radios are suddenly adopted across car models (species) and even across companies (genera). That’s a prediction of design. But that is simply not what we see. Instead, the ID folks try to finesse that by looking deeper and deeper into the gaps.

    You can test for the supernatural. James Randi does it all the time, and supernatural fails.

  6. #6 Josh
    November 23, 2006

    Ahcuah, it’s true that particular claims made by IDolators are testable and false, “design” itself is not. A supernatural deity could do anything at all, after all, so no prediction is possible, and thus no true test, either.

    Evolution, however, does make testable predictions, which is why we don’t just give up, Larry. We have tested evolution, and haven’t found any reasons to reject it. Specific testable predictions turn out right again and again.

    When there is not such a theory, they “admit it when science has not explained something.” In the case of evolution, there’s no need for such statements. Evolution does explain things.

  7. #7 Dale Austin
    November 23, 2006

    Grady;

    Of course, you support the idea that all of us; soldiers, civilians, scientists, engineers and factory workers should just refuse to work in the defense industry, right? Halliburton should stop taking those evil contracts, right?

    Cute scare quotes in “science” by the way. Actually, science just tells you how it might work, engineers are the folks who have to make it so. Got a problem with it, talk to the bloody engineers.

  8. #8 tert
    November 24, 2006

    Thisis a tert.

  9. #9 tert
    November 24, 2006

    This is really terty

  10. #10 tert
    November 24, 2006

    Terty

  11. #11 tert
    November 24, 2006

    tery

  12. #12 tert
    November 24, 2006

    tertlicious

  13. #13 tert
    November 24, 2006

    tertly

  14. #14 Dale Austin
    November 24, 2006

    Grady;

    Again, why concentrate responsibility on just one part of a much larger system? Why “science” and not also “engineering”, or “politics”, or “religion” and so on? This is especially true given that “science” also provides medical advancement, or that computer you are sitting at.

  15. #15 Farb
    November 24, 2006

    (Adapted from RSR) The Trollbait Guide To Fixing Blame:

    “If bankers didn’t make banks for people to put their money in, I wouldn’t rob them. It’s their own fault”

    “If the gun manufacturers didn’t make guns, I wouldn’t use guns to rob the banks made by those Satanic bankers.”

    “If distillers wouldn’t make whiskey, I wouldn’t be a drunk. It’s their fault, not mine.”

    “If my stupid kids would just stop crying, I wouldn’t have to beat them so much. They deserve it.”

    “And if my victims didn’t have sex organs, I wouldn’t be tempted to rape them. How dare they!”

    So, while we’re at it, let’s:

    Blame playing cards for gambling.

    Blame oil for automobile casualties.

    Blame tobacco for cancer.

    Blame the camera for porn.

  16. #16 Dave S.
    November 25, 2006

    Achuah writes:

    Baloney. ID is testable. And it fails.

    When things, like cars, are designed, new innovations like automatic transmissions or radios are suddenly adopted across car models (species) and even across companies (genera). That’s a prediction of design. But that is simply not what we see. Instead, the ID folks try to finesse that by looking deeper and deeper into the gaps.

    Or computers, which leap the phyla (or classes?).

    As Josh writers, this is not a test of ID, it’s a test of a particular mode of ID, specifically the so-called common design argument. It’s ironic that IDers make this argument as they themselves tell us repeatedly that ID ‘theory’ can’t say anything about the designer…it can’t even really say there was one (although how there can be a design without a designer is left mysterious).

    There is nothing in ID that says the design has to accomplished using common design elements. They could as well “predict” that design doesn’t entail this, which after all is the basis for the irreducible complexity argumets. They only use it when they have nothing else to say about some particulary powerful evidence for common descent – which theoretically should be irrelevant to the IDer, but in practice it’s almost always opposed since most IDers are opposed to evolution in all its macro guises.

  17. #17 Dale Austin
    November 27, 2006

    Grady;

    I fear you were raised on too many of those old, and very cheesy, black and white mad scientist movies as a kid. Somehow, those guys were able to work alone (or with a hunchback or two) on hugely expensive projects, completely in secret, which they sprang on an unsuspecting world.

    Not. The. Way. It. Happens. Again, why exclude the engineers from responsibility? They’re the one’s who had to figure out how to make the theory fit into the shiny bomb casing.

    Oh, one more thing, can you source the Oppenheimer quote you refer to? I can’t find that one.

  18. #18 Dale Austin
    November 28, 2006

    Grady;

    Grady, Grady, Grady. A citation would include things like the page number, or the title.

    “Its in all his biographies.” is a claim, not a citation.

    Google: “the scientists have blood on their hands.” gets you a whole bunch of web posts by a guy named Manuel Goldstein. Would that be you by any chance? Your writing style is very similar, complete with the errors.

    Oh, yeah, as an English major, I’ve got no buck to pass.

  19. #19 Josh
    November 28, 2006

    Emanuel Goldstein is a troll who has been banned far and wide, as well as the bogus resistance fighter in 1984.

  20. #20 Dale Austin
    November 28, 2006

    Josh;

    Shhhhh . . . I’m playing with the troll.