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Author Topic: ‘Intelligent design’ trial concludes
Boothby171
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Treso,

"Teaching the controversy" ???

Rubber stoppers for everyone!

Dick.

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TomDavidson
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Stephen, seriously, you're starting to sound like KoM. Maybe you should take a step back from this one.

I mean, c'mon, you're letting Tresopax fluster you? A guy who sets out to play Devil's Advocate at every turn?

Until he starts setting educational policy, I don't think you need to get upset about his opinion. Whatever he may claim it to be at any given moment.

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camus
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quote:
I've trained my kids to be total assholes in class if the concept of "God" or "ID" is ever brought up.

Just like me.

But when my son's deeply religious friends made fun of him and his sister for believing in evolution, he was courteous and reserved (I don't know if I would have been that well behaved!)

My guess is that your kids have learned that being an A-hole like their father isn't the best way to solve problems. Some never learn.
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TomDavidson
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Believe it or not, camus, sometimes "being an A-hole" -- or being willing to stubbornly make some noise in the face of determined ignorance, which is unfortunately perceived as the same thing a lot of the time -- is often the only way to be a principled person. It depends, of course, on the "problem" you're trying to solve: if the "problem" is that a teacher is trying to pass on misinformation, then "being an A-hole" is probably a pretty decent (although not ideal) solution to a complex problem; if a good friend is mocking you for not believing in God, "being an A-hole" is probably less important than maintaining that friendship.

If atheists didn't learn to roll with some of those punches, life in America would be nearly intolerable.

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Boothby171
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What fluster?

I'm just wearing the nom-de-plume given me by Lisa.

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camus
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Tom,
While I agree with that statement, it didn't sound to me like that was the same thing Steve was trying to teach his children. Edit: noted the clarification of your statement.

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TomDavidson
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Think about that for a second, Stephen. Do you really want to classify yourself based on starLisa's definition? It's not necessary to give her that much power.
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KarlEd
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quote:
Originally posted by Sartorius:
quote:
Originally posted by KarlEd:
Yes, science should be able to prove a true God.

I surprised that no one else has anything to say to this. Haven't the evolutionists been arguing the seperation of science and religion?
To the degree that religion deals with metaphysical* claims they are separate schools of thought. Science by definition does not deal with metaphysics*

However, one does not have to restrict ones philosophical beliefs to the realm of metaphysics. Indeed, a God confined to metaphysics is no more relevant to modern life than any other myth or cultural artifact. If God is a being who exists in, or interacts with our universe, such existence or interaction with our universe should be verifiable within the framework of science. That is, if God lives on a planet in the Andromeda Galaxy, that should be scientifically verifiable. If God literally created Adam and all the separate species 6000 years ago there should be scientifically verifiable evidence of that fact. In these cases, "religion" is making a non-metaphysical claim. However, religion seldom does this. To some, ID makes - or tries to make - such a claim. What it ends up doing, though, is making the claim "God=the unknown", or more precisely "In the realm of biology, 'an unknown intelligent designer' = the unknown." This "God equals the gaps in scientific knowledge" idea is, at its most powerful, a metaphysical* claim, not a scientific one. At its weakest, it is a semantic game or tautology. That is why this whole thread has been largely a challenge for someone who believes ID makes scientific claims to state the scientific claims that ID makes. "Irreducible Complexity" is the best that anyone has come up with so far, and it has been found scientifically lacking.

quote:
Originally posted by Sartorius:
Science is a hobby that I haven't had much time to devote to (and I'm still young and learning), but the vast majority of scientists I have had the privilege of learning from (Steven Jay Gould, Robert M. Hazen, and Alex Filipenko just to name a few of my favorites) have made it very clear that science can have nothing to say about the existence of God. Non-overlapping magisteria is the term Gould uses.

Why do you disagree and how would you test for a god?

I would not disagree. This is because I believe that all we know about "God" at this point is purely metaphysical* speculation. I wouldn't bother testing for God, because I don't believe such a being exists in our space-time. However, if "God" is located on a planet in the Andromeda Galaxy, he should be, at least theoretically, scientifically verifiable.

quote:
Originally posted by Sartorius:
What it means to me personally is that faith based in tangible proof is weak and will not withstand much pressure.

I can understand that. I might counter that faith that is based independent of any tangible proof is dangerous. The danger of that faith corresponds directly to its strength. The perpetrators of 9/11 had a faith that was strong enough to withstand all the pressures that allow less faith endowed humans to live together in relative peace. Perhaps for them the fall of the towers was the miracle of which their faith was preceding. One would have to ask a member of their specific brand of their faith. To me, such exceeding faith (of the type not grounded in any tangible proof) can just as easily give the strength to commit atrocities as it can give the strength to make the world a better place. The crux is how good is the guess upon which you have placed your faith. Thankfully, most people either have relatively weak faith, or they have guessed benignly.

************
*I use the word "metaphysics" with the meaning: "a priori speculation upon questions that are unanswerable to scientific observation, analysis, or experiment."

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Tresopax
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quote:
Rubber stoppers for everyone!
In fairness, if I actually heard someone take the position you seem to say I'm taking, I'd be handing out metaphorical rubber stoppers too....
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Boothby171
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Camus,

Tom actually hit the nail right on the head. I call it "Creative Assholism."

Just like relying on StarLisa's definition.

It's a polite way of saying that I think Teso and Lisa are full of nonsense.

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camus
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That's great Steve. You're obviously a very clever person. I commend your cleverness. However, which do you think would be more productive, a student being getting kicked out of class for being disruptive over a matter that may or may not have been what the student thought it was, or a parent coming in and talking to the teacher about his concerns over the curriculum?
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Sartorius
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quote:
Originally posted by KarlEd:
If God literally created Adam and all the separate species 6000 years ago there should be scientifically verifiable evidence of that fact. In these cases, "religion" is making a non-metaphysical claim.

Ah. I get you now. I don't believe in that sort of God.
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Destineer
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quote:
ID is the proposal of a set of natural laws (and the corresponding model explaining those laws) to explain life on earth. That their laws include an intelligent designer does not alter this, unless "natural" automatically disallows intelligent designers - which makes this rule seem to have a rather arbitrary bias against certain possibilities.
Tres, since the theistic God is omnipotent and has free will, by definition there can be no natural laws governing his actions. He has the power to do anything, and there's nothing in his nature to prevent him from doing anything. So anywhere that ID appeals to God, it fails to offer explanations in terms of laws.
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Destineer
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quote:
Again, finding historical evidence that is consistent with a theory, though informative, is not a scientific experiment
False. As long as you weren't aware of the historical evidence prior to its being predicted by your theory, it counts as new evidence for the theory. It doesn't matter when the result occurs, it matters when you learn about the result.

All of this follows straightforwardly from Bayesianism, which seems to be a pretty close approximation of how we adapt to new evidence.

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Boothby171
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Tongue in cheek, Camus; tongue in cheek.
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camus
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Steve,
My initial response was somewhat meant to be as well. However, I am still concerned with the way you are raising your children. Considering your complete lack of tact in this thread (at least KoM is generally funny and usually has a legitimate point) it wouldn't surprise me one bit if you were completely serious about the attitudes you instill in your children.

Regarding your clever little terminology, I couldn't care less about what you consider to be wit or humor, so don't flatter yourself into thinking I was responding to that.

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Boothby171
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"Clever little terminology?"

Care to explain?

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camus
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not really. To do that would be to imply that this is actually worth discussing, which it isn't. I think I've derailed the topic of this thread enough already, my apologies to JVP, Paul, Dan, Destineer, Karl, and the others, whose names I can't remember right now, that have contributed much very interesting information to this topic.
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KarlEd
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No appology to me. This thread has been all over the map and that's just as much because of me as anyone. [Wink]
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KarlEd
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quote:
Originally posted by Sartorius:
quote:
Originally posted by KarlEd:
If God literally created Adam and all the separate species 6000 years ago there should be scientifically verifiable evidence of that fact. In these cases, "religion" is making a non-metaphysical claim.

Ah. I get you now. I don't believe in that sort of God.
Hmmm. What sort of God do you believe in? I only included the "6000 years ago" example because it was the most obvious. My point holds true (in my opinion) for any claim religion makes about the natural world. Do you believe in a God that doesn't work in the natural world?
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Tresopax
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quote:
As long as you weren't aware of the historical evidence prior to its being predicted by your theory, it counts as new evidence for the theory.
By historical evidence I didn't mean old evidence. I meant the sort of evidence that is used to back up historical theories, rather than the experimental evidence that is supposed to support scientific theories. Old texts, for instance. Or fossils.

quote:
Tres, since the theistic God is omnipotent and has free will, by definition there can be no natural laws governing his actions. He has the power to do anything, and there's nothing in his nature to prevent him from doing anything.
A) Intelligent Design does not require the designer to be the theistic God, so it doesn't need to accept this assumption.

B) I disagree with that definition of the theistic God. I think that theists consider God to good, and consider good to be something meaningful, more than simply "like God". If this is true, then God must act in a good fashion, and thus must follow rules. Many theists will claim otherwise, but I think they are confused - because the notion of a God that obeys no rules yet is considered good either makes good meaningless or contradicts itself. In short, I think that if most theistic accounts of God are accurate, He must be limited by His own nature. (I suspect Mormons have to be right on this particular issue, if I understand their position correctly.)

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camus
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quote:
Originally posted by KarlEd:
No appology to me. This thread has been all over the map and that's just as much because of me as anyone. [Wink]

The reason I enjoy these types of threads so much is because of the insightful and thought provoking comments by people like yourself and JVP. It seems, however, that I often times get caught up in the minor details that are really quite insignificant and are actually of very little interest compared to some of the other discussions. I find that I end up wasting half a page debating semantics or some other trivial issue. Thus, the apology is for getting the entire thread sidetracked from the much more interesting debates by the much more informed members. Anyway, back to the discussion...
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Destineer
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quote:
I meant the sort of evidence that is used to back up historical theories, rather than the experimental evidence that is supposed to support scientific theories. Old texts, for instance. Or fossils.

That's what I meant too. And if your theory predicts that you'll find a fossil of a certain type that you haven't seen before, and you end up finding that fossil, then you've just gained evidence for your theory.

That's an experiment. Your theory predicted you'd find the fossil, and then you went ahead and confirmed that prediction.

As for the God part, I don't need the omnipotence/free will thing to make my point. You're making my point for me, in a sense, by showing that the notion of the designer is so overly flexible. ID advocates can make up an intelligent designer to explain pretty much any evidence, since they can tool His intentions to fit the facts. Can't you see that this isn't the same as hypothesizing that there's an unchanging law of nature which explains all the phenomena we've observed so far, but could easily be ruled out by the next fossil bed we find?

Anyway, I think most ID fundamentalists (insofar as they've thought deeply about theology) would consider you quite heretical for supposing that either God's power or his freedom is somehow limited.

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Paul Goldner
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Tres, I think your understanding of the scientific method and science in general is sorely lacking, and I think that has been demonstrated by numerous people on this thread. Perhaps its time to step back and admit that you might not have enough information to make an informed judgement.
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Boothby171
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Camus,

I trust that one day, we'll meet again when I'm in a better and more intellectual mood. Sorry if I've wasted your time with trivia and nonsense.

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Paul Goldner
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"ID is the proposal of a set of natural laws (and the corresponding model explaining those laws) to explain life on earth. That their laws include an intelligent designer does not alter this, unless "natural" automatically disallows intelligent designers - which makes this rule seem to have a rather arbitrary bias against certain possibilities."

No its not a set of natural laws. It proposes a being that exists, without either experimental or observational evidence for said being, and says this being did things according to rules that we don't understand, or even know if they exist, that created the variety of life on earth. Those aren't laws, tres.

"What does evolution predict that ID does not? Keep in mind that ID shares many of the same features as evolution, and thus makes many of the same predictions - including similar DNA, the presence of fossils, etc. The only major differences I see are that ID predicts there will be evolutionary changes that cannot be explained except by intelligence, and that the progress of evolution in ID would have to progress in some sort of purposeful direction."

Which basically means that ID makes no predictions. THe outline of what will happen in the future must be known in order for it to be a testable scientific prediction. ID makes philosophical predictions, not scientific. You can't test for ID's predictions (Even granting that these are predictions, which I disagree that they are).

"What experiment tests it? Again, finding historical evidence that is consistent with a theory, though informative, is not a scientific experiment - and can be done to support ID too."

Quite wrong, tres. Scientific evidence is experimental AND observational. ANy evidence gathered through observation, as long as the evidence is rigorously documented, and all necessary measurements are taken during observation, is scientific evidence.

Further, the historical record does not support ID theory. Why? Because there is no observational or experimental evidence for the designer. You can't posit something, in science, that you have no observational or experimental evidence for.

Even further, there have been literally thousands of experiments in the lab where environmental pressures are placed on populations, and those populations change according to the laws of natural selection. As I mentioned at least twice previously in this thread, which leads me to believe you aren't reading your opponents statements.

"You are applying far harder standards to ID than you are to Evolution."

No I'm not. You're ignoring thousands of data points in order to make this claim.

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Sartorius
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quote:
Originally posted by KarlEd:
Hmmm. What sort of God do you believe in? I only included the "6000 years ago" example because it was the most obvious. My point holds true (in my opinion) for any claim religion makes about the natural world. Do you believe in a God that doesn't work in the natural world?

I believe in a God that doesn't always have to be tinkering around with His creations to get them to work properly. Blessings are the natural consequences of a certain set of actions that lead to personal happiness, as sin is a set of actions the natural consequence of which is misery (eventually, somewhere down the road).

I do believe that His spirit testifies of truth. Is that a working in the natural world? If so, I guess I do believe in "that sort of God". I took that to mean the planning and demanding that I don't believe He does, but I think now you're talking about something much broader than that.

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King of Men
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That's very enlightening. Do you think you could define 'testifies of truth' to us less exalted sorts?
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camus
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quote:
Originally posted by ssywak:
Camus,

I trust that one day, we'll meet again when I'm in a better and more intellectual mood. Sorry if I've wasted your time with trivia and nonsense.

I did not mean to imply that your points were trivial. My comment was more in regards to the way I ignored the actual issue and attacked the minor details, which is never very productive.
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Boothby171
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Yeah, except many of my points were trivial! I struck at "popular" targets (not implying that Treso or Lisa are or are not popular, but that the targets they represented were).

Many others made the points I would have liked to have made (and, I hope, am capable of making), but I had neither the time nor the energy to sit down and write them out. It all turned out well--the points favoring science in the science class, and opposing the introduction if ID as if it were science were strong and very well supported.

The points made by ID proponents got weaker and weaker, and were eventually weeded out. Sort of an evolutionary process, if you would!

I especially liked ticking off Lisa to the point where she felt the need to insult me. Base, I know, but fun. And it was quite the rush to see Tresopax go from supporting ID in the science class to finally stating, "Um, no; that's not what I really meant. I don't really support it." Something about, "before the cock crows..."

But I know I can do better.

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Tresopax
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quote:
And it was quite the rush to see Tresopax go from supporting ID in the science class to finally stating, "Um, no; that's not what I really meant. I don't really support it."
And again, you failed to ever show me that quote where I claimed ID was true... Please stop making up positions for me. I can do that well enough myself. [Wink]

quote:
That's an experiment. Your theory predicted you'd find the fossil, and then you went ahead and confirmed that prediction.
Except that if you don't find the fossil, you don't consider Evolution falsified. Instead you say you merely haven't found the fossil yet, and keep looking. That's not how a scientific experiment works.

And again, just as we can search for and find a fossil, we could also search for and find a one-million-year-old rock saying "This is God - I exist!" That doesn't mean the "God exists and left hidden messages to us in one-million-year-old rocks" theory is scientific.

quote:
It proposes a being that exists, without either experimental or observational evidence for said being, and says this being did things according to rules that we don't understand, or even know if they exist, that created the variety of life on earth. Those aren't laws, tres.
In that general form, you are right. It is probably too vague to be consider a law. ID would be greatly improved if they were to treat the designer as rule-driven, which would allow them to make more powerful predictions. For instance, if it proposed that the intelligent designer set out to design life in a certain way, they could then test that theory against the way life seemingly did come about to see if it consistently progresses in that particular direction. I agree that this suggests ID does have some work to do - but at worst I think this is a problem they need to solve, not something that completely separates them from science altogether.

quote:
Even further, there have been literally thousands of experiments in the lab where environmental pressures are placed on populations, and those populations change according to the laws of natural selection. As I mentioned at least twice previously in this thread, which leads me to believe you aren't reading your opponents statements.

Speaking of not reading opponents statements, I mentioned several times that evolution as a theory to explain present behavior is most definitely scientific, because it is directly testable. It is only the evolutionary theory of the origin of all specieis, the historical claim, that I'd dispute the scientific character of. That evolution occurs in labs is a fact that is incorporated both into Evolution and ID, both of which accept evolution as a process that occurs in nature, disagreeing only on whether it is influenced by any intelligence over the long run.

quote:
Tres, I think your understanding of the scientific method and science in general is sorely lacking
No, trust me, it's not... unless by sorely lacking you just mean I'm not a professional scientist, in which case you'd be right.
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Destineer
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quote:
Except that if you don't find the fossil, you don't consider Evolution falsified. Instead you say you merely haven't found the fossil yet, and keep looking. That's not how a scientific experiment works.
Yeah, it basically is. I used to do high-energy particle physics. If you're trying to find something like the Higgs boson, and your theory predicts that the boson will appear at some energy higher than 1 TeV, you run your collider for a long time. If you find an example of the particle, you say your theory is confirmed. If you don't, then you say you're still waiting. You haven't been lucky enough to come across the right result yet.

If it goes on like that for a couple of decades, then you begin to worry...

And no, I don't think you lack understanding of the scientific method. I do think you have unconventional and mistaken, but overall pretty well-informed, opinions about it.

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Paul Goldner
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" It is only the evolutionary theory of the origin of all specieis, the historical claim, that I'd dispute the scientific character of."

Historical claims are very much a part of scientific epistomology. Part of why I say you don't have a good understanding of scientific epistomology is this strange insistence that observation is not part of science, and that science can't make historical claims. Of course it can, if there is evidence of a scientific nature that speaks to the historical events that science is making a claim about.

"That evolution occurs in labs is a fact that is incorporated both into Evolution and ID, both of which accept evolution as a process that occurs in nature, disagreeing only on whether it is influenced by any intelligence over the long run."


Of course this form of ID incorporates evolution in the lab. Evolution is a real scientific theory. ID says "Evolution plus a bit that we don't need." Occam's razor kills this form of ID. Evolution fits all the available facts, this form of ID adds a component that we have NO evidence for, but says its necessary, despite NO evidence that its necessary to add anything to evolution.

And by evidence, I mean rigorous observational or experimental evidence.

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Tresopax
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quote:
If you're trying to find something like the Higgs boson, and your theory predicts that the boson will appear at some energy higher than 1 TeV, you run your collider for a long time. If you find an example of the particle, you say your theory is confirmed. If you don't, then you say you're still waiting.
Hmmm... that is an interesting experiment. I don't think I'm willing to say that is unscientific.

But that does seem to open the door to theism itself being scientific in that particular sense. I'll refer back to the one-million-old-rock proclaiming God's existence. It's definitely possible to set up a theory that assumes both that God exists and that He would be sure to show us that He exists. Under such a theory, you could predict that God would leave proof of his existence, and thus it would become testable - in that we could look for years and years for that piece of evidence, and conclude that our theory holds true if and when we find it.

quote:
No, trust me... it is.
Why would I trust you more than myself in regards to what I do or do not understand. You've never even met me. And the statements that you claim demonstrate a lack of understanding really only demonstrate that I disagree with you.

quote:
Occam's razor kills this form of ID.
Occam's razor is neither a proven nor valid principle with which to kill theories.
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King of Men
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Right, and we've been looking for two thousand years and haven't found it yet. There does come a point when you say, 'oh well, guess that theory wasn't much good after all.'
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Paul Goldner
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" It's definitely possible to set up a theory that assumes both that God exists and that He would be sure to show us that He exists."

Yes it is.

But lets look at this in more detail. Lets say you have a scientific theory (scientific because its built on scientific evidence, is falsifiable, makes predictions about either the future or the past, or both, and is not contradicted by other scientific evidence). One of the predictions is, as destineer said, that you should find a certain particle under certain conditions. You currently have a theory, (as long as there are other predictions this theory makes, that have been confirmed, if it only makes one prediction, then you have a hypothesis), but its a falsifiable theory because if that boson never shows up the prediction is wrong. Or, its currently a hypothesis, if it only makes one prediction. In either case, the hypothesis or theory came from other scientific evidence.

A theistic scientific claim that makes the same sort of prediction would be a hypothesis (unless it makes other predictions which have already been confirmed). But to be a viable hypothesis, it would have to be built on previously obtained scientific evidence, and not falsified by other scientific evidence.

So the question is, what is your scientific evidence that allows you to invoke god?

While its possible to set up a theory that assumes god exists, I'm not sure you have any scientific ground to stand on to set up that theory. So it STARTS as an unscientific theory, until the predictions your theory makes start to be borne out under scientific scrutiny.

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Destineer
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quote:
It's definitely possible to set up a theory that assumes both that God exists and that He would be sure to show us that He exists. Under such a theory, you could predict that God would leave proof of his existence, and thus it would become testable - in that we could look for years and years for that piece of evidence, and conclude that our theory holds true if and when we find it.
Taking this idea seriously, the theory suffers from serious problems of simplicity and internal logic. The god in question is supposed to be very powerful, so if he wanted to be discovered why would he leave the evidence in such an out-of-the-way place?

In fact, this points us toward some of ID's biggest explanatory problems. Evolution has a specific story to tell about many of the features animal species have, including humans. In order to tell a similar story, ID would have to make a lot of arbitrary assumptions about the intentions of the purported designer(s). Why exactly did they want beings that are left-right symmetric? What's the deal with the appendix?

If the designer is supposed to be a benevolent God, this will ultimately lead us to the problem of evil. [Smile]

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Paul Goldner
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"Occam's razor is neither a proven nor valid principle with which to kill theories."

No, but it is a reason to throw a theory into the dustbin until someone demonstrates why the unnecessary components of a hypothesis are, in fact, necessary.

Its one of the same problems as the ether theory. In order for ether theory to work, you need to explain a lot of things with very questionable explanations. They make internal sense, but there's no scientific observational evidence that supports those questionable explanations. If you've got a theory that has all its components based on scientific evidence, and explains all the experiments or observational evidence you've got, and you have another theory that is exactly the same, but has an extra claim that has no scientific evidence supporting it, then the second theory is not the valid scientific theory, relative to the first one.

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twinky
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quote:
Except that if you don't find the fossil, you don't consider Evolution falsified.
Just how many fossils do scientists need to find in order to satisfy you? The thousands upon thousands of extant fossils are insufficient somehow?
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Tresopax
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quote:
So the question is, what is your scientific evidence that allows you to invoke god?
Well according to ID theorists, their theory is built to solve holes in the evolutionary explanation of how life got from non-living matter to human beings. So it's pretty much built on the same evidence that evolution is, only attempting to explain that evidence in what ID theorists consider to be a more complete fashion. This is not to say I think their claims about holes in evolution is correct - it is only to say that such claims are derived from how they view the evidence at hand.

quote:
In order to tell a similar story, ID would have to make a lot of arbitrary assumptions about the intentions of the purported designer(s). Why exactly did they want beings that are left-right symmetric? What's the deal with the appendix?
It would not be arbitrary if supported by the evidence. But it might be very very complicated, in order to set out a theory of the designer's intentions that is consistent with all data.

quote:
No, but it is a reason to throw a theory into the dustbin until someone demonstrates why the unnecessary components of a hypothesis are, in fact, necessary.
I don't believe this is so. If I did, I would probably have to become a solipsist, because there's really no absolute need to assume any of you really exist outside my perception of you. The "simplest" explanation I can think of for everything is a world in which the only entity is me. [Wink]

quote:
Just how many fossils do scientists need to find in order to satisfy you? The thousands upon thousands of extant fossils are insufficient somehow?
My point there wasn't that there haven't been enough fossils to back up evolution. My point was that if they didn't find a fossil, it wouldn't falsify evolution. They'd just say they haven't found a fossil yet.

And as far as fossils go, they tend to support ID and evolution equally. The only ones that I'd think critically differentiate one theory from the other are the fossils of evolutionary dead-ends. Why would an intelligent designer create one sort of life only to kill it off?

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KarlEd
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I was thinking that my exchange with Sartorious above was kind of straying from the point of this thread, but on further thinking, I'm not so sure. If anyone is still reading, perhaps I can shed further light on this subject by bringing the tangent back to the point:

I made the claim, "If God is located on a planet in the Andromeda Galaxy, he should be (at least theoretically) scientifically verifiable". However, does that make the claim "God lives on a planet in the Andromeda Galaxy" a scientific theory, or even a scientific hypothesis? I say "no", and I will attempt to explain why.

For years scientists have theorized the existence of planets around distant stars. How is this a scientific theory and God being around a distant star not? Paul tells us the difference above. Scientific theories build upon and invoke other established science.

For instance:
We know that the only star we can observe close-up has not only 1 planet, but 9 of them (give or take Pluto or planet X). We have scientific knowledge that supports our theories of how planets develop, how stars form, etc. All of these theories support the idea that what happened here should happen anywhere similar circumstances occur. We know from scientific observation that our Sun is not a unique star. Indeed it's pretty average. Therefore it is logical to hypothesize that other stars also have planets. However, we can't see them as they are too far away. How might we find out about them? Well, we can observe the gravitational effects of our planets on The Sun. We know that a sufficiently large planet should produce a measurable wobble in its star. We observe distant stars and we see the wobble. If we measure precisely enough, we can calculate the probable size and orbital distance from its star of a suspected planet. And that's what scientists did. Using this hypothesis, to date, they have found several planets around distant stars.

What about God? Well, first, we don't even have a scientific definition of God. What does it mean that "God" is on a planet in the Andromeda Galaxy? Which planet? How might we detect Him if he is there? We have no answers to any of those questions. We have absolutely no place to begin. Set aside the fact that we can't even see a planet in the Andromeda Galaxy. Even if we could go there and happened to find a being on a planet there, what is it about him that would justify the label "God"?

Likewise the "Intelligent Designer". The only thing we know about the theorized Intelligent Designer is that it supposedly did the stuff involved in the evolution of species that we haven't yet found an alternative cause for. In a literal sense, "Intelligent Designer" means "Originator of Species" or "Originator of First Life" or "Force that Powers Evolution". When the question is "What is the origin of life?" or "What is the origin of species?" or "How is Evolution brought about?" answering with a label that reiterates the question is a tautology. How did life begin on Earth? The Life-starter started it. What is the "Life-starter"? Its the thing that started life on Earth. Sure, that's logical. In fact, it's flawlessly logical. It's also completely useless.

Now if you doubt that what I've written above is the case, ask yourself what additional scientific information we gain, or stand to gain from invoking ID? Nothing. ID makes no claim as to the nature of this designer other than it is intelligent (which term, itself, hasn't been scientifically defined: in my view a cat displays obvious signs of intelligence, a chimp even more so.) ID does not offer anything as to the nature of this force. How is it different from saying "The variety of species we can observe on Earth are here because Charlie did it"?

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David Bowles
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Well, the above discussion is a bit optimistic in its view of how scientific theories are developed. In "Fodder for Science Debates" in this forum, I'm developing a sidebar to the present thread that contests that slightly, for those interested...
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KarlEd
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I liked that, David. I'm going to respond here because I don't want to set the frame of the other thread narrowly within this discussion.

In defense of the "optimism" above, we are arguing ideals. I don't think anyone is trying to remove inspiration or intuition from scientific inquiry. But even Einstein's theories, un-proven as they were at the time, had their basis in science that had come before. They also pointed to methods by which support could be found and was found once technology caught up.

So I agree that if we're not careful we can appear to be arguing against any role of inspiration or guesswork in science. I don't think people are doing that here, at least not yet.

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Bob_Scopatz
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quote:
And as far as fossils go, they tend to support ID and evolution equally. The only ones that I'd think critically differentiate one theory from the other are the fossils of evolutionary dead-ends. Why would an intelligent designer create one sort of life only to kill it off?
I'm sorry but this absolutely and positively false. The sad thing about ID is that it proposes we will find evidence of exogenous influences in the irreducible complexity of current day structures or functions. To the extent that ID has generated testable hypotheses, comparative studies and studies of fossil forms have clearly supported evolutionary explanations of the items in question. That is, descent with modification, not sudden appearance of fully formed structures in their modern forms.
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Paul Goldner
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"And as far as fossils go, they tend to support ID and evolution equally."

"I'm sorry but this absolutely and positively false."

Its not ENTIRELY false, Bob. Everything you could ever hope to find could be argued to support ID theory, which is part of why ID can never be scientific.

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Bob_Scopatz
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Paul, ID theory is a specific variant that says specifically that examples of irreducible complexity are evidence of an intelligent creative force at work in developing the critters that appear in our world.

If one wants to talk about a theory that just says "a (or THE) God" did it, then we should probably call it by a different name in order to distinguish it from the (partially) testable theory of ID.

Given that ID depends on findings of truly irreducibile complexity, it is false that the fossil record supports Evolution and ID equally. It does not.

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Dan_raven
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Here is a nice ID Field Experiment that can take place and hence prove its scientific validity.

The city of Dover PA ousted every ID proponent on its school board.

Soon there after, Pat Roberson came out with a warning, basically saying God (his "I" behind the "ID") will strike down Dover for its rebuttal of God's way.

According to Slate Magazine the Pope also announced his unhappiness with the voters of Dover PA. However the Pope did not predict disaster. He reminded everyone that "Love" was the ultimate "D" in ID.

So here is the lab work.

We shall sit and study the city of Dover PA.

If it is attacked by any kind of plague, we will have proof that Robertson is right, and that God is a vengeful Intelligence.

If nothing happens, or (Heaven forbid?)something good happens to Dover, then we have proof that the Pope is correct, and God is a loving designer.

See. Practical Experiment. ID is Science.

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twinky
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quote:
Given that ID depends on findings of truly irreducibile complexity, it is false that the fossil record supports Evolution and ID equally. It does not.
Hear, hear.
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Bob_Scopatz
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Dan,

I'm sorry, but it would take a series of plagues to convince me.

I hope the people of Dover are patient.

we really need this thing to run its course.

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El JT de Spang
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quote:
So here is the lab work.

We shall sit and study the city of Dover PA.

If it is attacked by any kind of plague, we will have proof that Robertson is right, and that God is a vengeful Intelligence.

If nothing happens, or (Heaven forbid?)something good happens to Dover, then we have proof that the Pope is correct, and God is a loving designer.

See. Practical Experiment. ID is Science.

I hope we're not going by Robertson's definition of 'plague', or he'll modify it to mean "every resident of Dover will die of natural causes sometime in the next hundred years."
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