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They're doing science. But they're in the hypothesis stage, and they have never claimed anything else. They've asked a question: "IF there were ET's, how would we identify them?" They've come up with tests, but so far those tests have failed to yield any worthwhile results. Also part of the process, as long as this is presented in an honest way.


ID is doing science then. They've asked the question: "If an intelligence designed something in biology, can we detect it?". They've come up with some tests, but so far nothing convincing, and no worthwile results.

I can live with that.


I'll give you the point that they've asked the question. However, I will challenge the claim that they've come up with a meaningful test. SETI is looking for a pattern that shouldn't (to the best of our knowledge) be produced naturally. I don't remember what they're looking for, but for the purposes of this argument, let's say they're looking for a long string of prime numbers. The reason one might look for this is that there is no mathematical way to produce a list of prime numbers (unless something has changed in the last few years). Thus, to produce such a list, you need to be able to factor numbers and throw out the nonprime numbers. To the best of our knowledge (again, which could be wrong), this requires some sort of intelligence.

What the ID community has produced, the test for IC, could be likened to a "prime number descriminator" (PND), to work with the analogy. The PND works by dividing the input number by two. If the number is evenly divisible by 2 (and is not 2 itself), then the PND says that the number is not a prime. All other numbers produce a "prime" output. I (waiting to jump on the error) point out that '9' is predicted by the PND to be prime, but '9' is easily shown to be the product of 3x3, and thus is not prime. The maker of the PND responds, "Well, it's only designed to work for really large numbers. Your example of '9' doesn't count." This, obviously, is a silly response.

IC is much the same. IC asks, "If we take a piece away, does a complex still have some of the original function?" (Of course, this question is also flawed, but we've been over that already, I think.) If it does, then it's not IC. If it does not, then it is IC and likely requires a designer. I pointed out previously that I can produce a complex with three subunits that the test says is IC but was produced using a few simple evolutionary steps. This is analogous to the example of '9' with the PND. The response to this point, as above, was that the system isn't "complex enough.'' The test only works with larger complexes. With out any rationale to make support this claim, it's as silly as the response to the number '9' in the PND example.

You're not doing science until you have a test that has a reasonable expectation to identify what you're testing for. The 'tests' put forth by the ID community, like the PND, do not meet this requirement. I suspect that if you look into the methodology used by SETI, you'll find that it does meet this requirement.

-Anthony
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