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http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?command=download&id=697

"The Court finds that intelligent design (ID) is not science. In its legal analysis, the Court takes what I would call a restricted sociological view of science: “science” is what the consensus of the community of practicing scientists declares it to be. The word “science” belongs to that community and to no one else. Thus, in the Court's reasoning, since prominent science organizations have declared intelligent design to not be science, it is not science. Although at first blush that may seem reasonable, the restricted sociological view of science risks conflating the presumptions and prejudices of the current group of practitioners with the way physical reality must be understood.

On the other hand, like myself most of the public takes a broader view: “science” is an unrestricted search for the truth about nature based on reasoning from physical evidence. By those lights, intelligent design is indeed science. Thus there is a disconnect between the two views of what “science” is. Although the two views rarely conflict at all, the dissonance grows acute when the topic turns to the most fundamental matters, such as the origins of the universe, life, and mind.

Below I proceed sequentially through section E-4. Statements from the opinion are in italics, followed by my comments."
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"The Court finds that intelligent design (ID) is not science. In its legal analysis, the Court takes what I would call a restricted sociological view of science: “science” is what the consensus of the community of practicing scientists declares it to be. The word “science” belongs to that community and to no one else. Thus, in the Court's reasoning, since prominent science organizations have declared intelligent design to not be science, it is not science. Although at first blush that may seem reasonable, the restricted sociological view of science risks conflating the presumptions and prejudices of the current group of practitioners with the way physical reality must be understood.

On the other hand, like myself most of the public takes a broader view: “science” is an unrestricted search for the truth about nature based on reasoning from physical evidence. By those lights, intelligent design is indeed science. Thus there is a disconnect between the two views of what “science” is. Although the two views rarely conflict at all, the dissonance grows acute when the topic turns to the most fundamental matters, such as the origins of the universe, life, and mind.


There is no doubt I will read the entire article, but first--

Since Karl Popper, falsification and prediction have come to be the litmus test for a scientific theory. I italicize the word theory because that's pretty much what Popper intended to address.

Science itself might just be up for grabs here as far as I've learned.

k (might not read this article tonight)
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most of the public takes a broader view: “science” is an unrestricted search for the truth about nature based on reasoning from physical evidence.

The general public also believes that dinos and humans existed together, and that astrology has validity. That's why we have careful definitions, instead of sloppy ones.



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The co-op strategy has always bothered me:

There is no strict logical barrier to a Darwinian precursor to a bacterial flagellum having functioned as a secretory system and then, by dint of random mutation and natural selection, turning into a rotary device. There is also no absolute logical barrier to it having functioned as, say, a structural component of the cell, a light-harvesting machine, a nuclear reactor, a space ship, or, as Kenneth Miller has suggested, a paper weight. But none of these has anything to do with its function as a rotary motor, and so none of them explain that actual ability of the flagellum.

A bare assertion that one kind of complex system (say, a car's transmission) can turn into another kind of complex system (say, a car's airbag) by random mutation and natural selection is not evidence of anything, and does nothing to alleviate the difficulty of irreducible complexity for Darwinism. Children who are taught to uncritically accept such vaporous assertions are being seriously misled.
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A bare assertion that one kind of complex system (say, a car's transmission) can turn into another kind of complex system (say, a car's airbag) by random mutation and natural selection is not evidence of anything,


I'm not aware of anyone asserting the existence of car mutations.
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Behe redefines science: On the other hand, like myself most of the public takes a broader view: “science” is an unrestricted search for the truth about nature based on reasoning from physical evidence. By those lights, intelligent design is indeed science.

By this definition astrology, palmistry, wiccanism, and the like would join intelligent design as "science".

Seriously Bryan, is this really what you favor? Shouldn't the education system be allowed to weed out POVs where the "reasoning from physical evidence" is deemed poor or insufficiently substantiated? And shouldn't the people doing the weeding out be experts in the field, i.e., groups like the National Academy of Science?



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Seriously Bryan, is this really what you favor?

Absolutely. I'm 100% behind the effort to find the true causes for everything we can study. Aren't you?

And shouldn't the people doing the weeding out be experts in the field, i.e., groups like the National Academy of Science?

The predominantly atheist NAS? That's like arguing for the fox to weed out only the "sick" chickens . . . you'd end up with an empty hen house.

Sorry, they may all be absolutely unbiased, purely logical "Spocks" evaluating the evidence. I doubt it. Every group has a bias. So then the question becomes, "Which bias is more inclined towards the truth?"

Bryan
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C: By this definition astrology, palmistry, wiccanism, and the like would join intelligent design as "science".

Seriously Bryan, is this really what you favor?


B: Absolutely. I'm 100% behind the effort to find the true causes for everything we can study. Aren't you?

Seriously, Brian, do you really think astrology, palmistry, wiccanism and the like are going to find the true causes of anything?

- Joe

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Absolutely. I'm 100% behind the effort to find the true causes for everything we can study. Aren't you?

C'mon Bryan, give us a break with this rhetoric. There are different ways of perceiving truths, religious, philosophic, scientific, mathematic, artistic, etc. Each make their own contributions with their own peculiar methodologies.

Science has evolved over the years to become what it is today, an empirically driven discipline that identifies facts solely by experimentation and observation of the physical universe, and postulates mechanisms using solely those processes that can be observed and manipulated. So if you want to find "truths" in a science course then what you are going to be limited to are scientific perspectives of that truth, and that is how it should be.

Sorry, they may all be absolutely unbiased, purely logical "Spocks" evaluating the evidence. I doubt it. Every group has a bias. So then the question becomes, "Which bias is more inclined towards the truth?"

Accusations are easy. Provide one NAS statement that was critical of God. Provide any NAS statement that takes a position on the likelihood of God's existence or that describes the nature of God. Your suggestion that the NAS is biased is based on their position on a scientific matter that happens to run counter to your religious beliefs (I note you don't have many complaints about the NAS position on the Big Bang, a theory as "theoretical" as evolution and open to as much, if not more, scientific criticism).

Science has its biases, but less so than most institutions because there is a generally accepted methodology in place to test those biases. As such I see no other group more qualified to arbiter what is science than scientists.
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Science has evolved over the years to become what it is today, an empirically driven discipline that identifies facts solely by experimentation and observation of the physical universe, and postulates mechanisms using solely those processes that can be observed and manipulated. So if you want to find "truths" in a science course then what you are going to be limited to are scientific perspectives of that truth, and that is how it should be.


Isn't it true that not all scientists agree with your statement of how science "should be" ? Yes, it is true. So you are left with saying only that the majority rules in determining what is science.

I say that is a flimsy basis for making such a determination. How would you feel if the NAS were mostly YECs, and came up with a different definition of science? You'd be forced to accept whatever the majority said, since they are the experts. It becomes a political question then, not one ultimately tied to truth.

No, they are not the experts when it comes to one crucial item: what exactly is the nature of science. You can't put that definition in your lab and test it, because it isn't a scientific question. It is purely a philosophical question. Why do you think scientists trained in biochemistry, paleontology, or physics are qualified to answer philosophical questions?

Accusations are easy. Provide one NAS statement that was critical of God. Provide any NAS statement that takes a position on the likelihood of God's existence or that describes the nature of God.

It's not an accusation, its an observation of human nature. Its the probability that they are just like you and me in that regard.

I said they are biased . . . they have to be by definition of being also an atheist. I don't need to provide anti-theistic statements proving their bias; simply stating "I am an atheist" automatically provides evidence that they are biased against any non-natural explanation.

It's not like I'm setting myself and other theists above them in this regard. By choosing (or holding) an exclusive worldview, you are biased to filter experiential data through that filter.

I didn't think this was a controversial idea.

Bryan
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You'd be forced to accept whatever the majority said, since they are the experts. It becomes a political question then, not one ultimately tied to truth.

So your answer is to hand the definition of science to the public to fiddle with? Like they wouldn't make it political? Give us a break Brian. The primary elements of science are not in dispute. This is not a case of a tyrannical majority, and it is not political gamesmanship. If Behe doesn't like the standards then he can get busy showing us why his method works better. But until he can do that (and no one is stopping him from trying), then he hasn't got standing to dispute the definition science. No one is being oppressed here. Science is science because it produces useful information. You can use other methods to try to get to the knowledge you want - metaphysics, religion, call it what you will. Just don't call it science, because then the term is meaningless.

It would be like admitting someone to the practice of medicine because they can run a sub-11 second hundred-meter dash. One has nothing to do with the other.

It's not like I'm setting myself and other theists above them in this regard. By choosing (or holding) an exclusive worldview, you are biased to filter experiential data through that filter.

Yes, because that filter produces results that other filters do not. Prayer won't provide you with the knowledge you need to produce flash memory or 4-wheel drive. Science does, and that's why scientists get to decide. Because it is based on a set of open, clearly defined standards and because it works.
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I said they are biased . . . they have to be by definition of being also an atheist. I don't need to provide anti-theistic statements proving their bias; simply stating "I am an atheist" automatically provides evidence that they are biased against any non-natural explanation.

I suppose then that theists are also biased. Can we trust the agnostics to be unbiased? How about the Scientologists, they probably have a wonderful understanding of Science.




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Isn't it true that not all scientists agree with your statement of how science "should be" ? Yes, it is true. So you are left with saying only that the majority rules in determining what is science.

With what part of my definition are you claiming a signficant subset of scientists disagree?

In any case I'm not sure what you are suggesting. Are you saying that the minority of scientists who might agree with you should define science? Or that it should be defined by a popular vote of the people? A Gallop poll? Or are you saying that since there isn't a 100% agreement, science should have no definition and anything goes.

No, they are not the experts when it comes to one crucial item: what exactly is the nature of science. You can't put that definition in your lab and test it, because it isn't a scientific question. It is purely a philosophical question. Why do you think scientists trained in biochemistry, paleontology, or physics are qualified to answer philosophical questions?

So what do the philosophers say? Which philosophers are you basing your definition of science upon? Note in Behe's statement that his definition of science isn't based on some brilliant philosophical argument. It's based on what he perceives as popular opinion. Jeepers, that sure makes a lot of sense!

I said they are biased . . . they have to be by definition of being also an atheist.

Your argument would be credible if the NAS dealt with religious matters. That is probably why no one goes to the NAS to get info on religion. The NAS deals with scientific issues.

By choosing (or holding) an exclusive worldview, you are biased to filter experiential data through that filter.

That is precisely what makes science so useful and successful. That is why holding strictly to the scientific method is sooooo important. By demanding rigorous, empirical testing of any theory or assumption, the biases of the individual scientist can be minimized. And this is why non-natural explanations fall outside of science. They cannot be tested, so science can make no conclusion about them.
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...But none of these has anything to do with its function as a rotary motor, and so none of them explain that actual ability of the flagellum.

So the cilia in cells that are used to move it around are fundamentally different from the cilia in cells that are used to clear the surroundings ? ( Like the ones in our throat that move mucus upward) I always thought that on a microbiological scale they used the same mechanisms but I guess I was wrong.

T. (Guess it's similar to these different animal-tail functions that were discussed before. Yes, the "truth" is out there but those scientists are trying to hide it from us.)





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So your answer is to hand the definition of science to the public to fiddle with? Like they wouldn't make it political? Give us a break Brian.

No more so than your answer is to leave it to federal judges to decide. My point is that scientists are trained in science, not in philosophy. A philosopher of science is better equipped to decide such things.

If Behe doesn't like the standards then he can get busy showing us why his method works better.

This brings to mind a possible Monty Python skit:

Group:[all yanking one end of a carpet sending Don to the floor] "If you don't like the way we do things here, just show us how YOUR way of standing up is any better. You can't even stay up 2 seconds!

Don: "How can I, you keep pulling the rug out from under me!"

Group: [pause] "No we didn't"

Bryan
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Panda's Thumb has written a reply to Behe's complaint. It's long but well worth the read.

http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/02/can_you_hear_me.html#more

Most often, Behe's answers consist of simply repeating the arguments he made at trial, as if the Judge was just hard-of-hearing instead of utterly unconvinced by them. And when Behe does try to explain himself, the outcome is often worse.

Behe starts with addressing the Judge's claim that ID, by invoking or admitting the supernatural, violates the scientific method, and promptly puts his foot in his mouth by saying ID “does no such thing”. This will come as a surprise to almost all other ID movement leaders (such as Dembski, Wells, Johnson, Meyer etc) who not only have explicitly called for science to dispense with methodological naturalism (with it in place, according to Dembski, ID has “no chance in Hades” to succeed), but are right now engaged in a political struggle over the Kansas science standards which revolves, in significant part, on the local ID advocates' attempt to change the definition of science to implicitly admit the possibility of supernatural explanations. Oops.
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A philosopher of science is better equipped to decide such things.

Is Popper good enough for you?

http://www.trincoll.edu/depts/phil/philo/phils/popper.html
Karl Popper is generally regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of science of this century...


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_science
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My point is that scientists are trained in science, not in philosophy. A philosopher of science is better equipped to decide such things.

The current model of science has been greatly influenced by a number of philosophers, from Kant, Descartes, and Comte, to Thomas Kuhn and Karl Popper, so there is a very extensive philosophical underpinning to the training that scientists undergo. If you know of a philosopher or school of philosophy arguing that supernatural explanations should be part of science then let's hear it. At very least it will raise the level of discussion.
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Is Popper good enough for you?


Popper is certainly one voice that should be taken into consideration. I find it interesting that the issue of whether evolution was falsifiable was not always black and white to him.

But I found numerous interesting statements in the article on philosophy of science you linked, like this discussion of Kuhn:

*******
Empirical observation is supposedly used to determine the acceptability of some hypothesis within a theory. When someone claims to have made an observation, it is reasonable to ask them to justify their claim. Such a justification must make reference to the theory - operational definitions and hypotheses - in which the observation is embedded. That is, the observation is a component of the theory that also contains the hypothesis it either verifies or falsifies. But this means that the observation cannot serve as a neutral arbiter between competing hypotheses. Observation could only do this "neutrally" if it were independent of the theory.

Thomas Kuhn denied that it is ever possible to isolate the theory being tested from the influence of the theory in which the observations are grounded. He argued that observations always rely on a specific paradigm, and that it is not possible to evaluate competing paradigms independently. By "paradigm" he meant, essentially, a logically consistent "portrait" of the world, one that involves no logical contradictions. More than one such logically consistent construct can each paint a usable likeness of the world, but it is pointless to pit them against each other, theory against theory. Neither is a standard by which the other can be judged. Instead, the question is which "portrait" is judged by some set of people to promise the most in terms of “puzzle solving”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_science

In other words, bias is built into the system of "doing science".

Bryan
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In other words, bias is built into the system of "doing science".

Which you've already mentioned but which is not the same as the majority foisting a philosophical definition upon a minority without justification.
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Children who are taught to uncritically accept such vaporous assertions are being seriously misled.

Think of the children!
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