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Friday, January 06, 2006

Is the "Science" journal editor Misinformed or Lying?

Evolution named 2005's top scientific breakthrough

In the above article, Science journal editor says,
"It's a hypothesis that's not testable, and one of the important recognition factors for science and scientific ideas is the notion of testability, that you can go out and do an experiment and learn from it and change your idea," said Kennedy. "That's just not possible with a notion that's as much a belief in spirituality as intelligent design is."
Intelligent Design is Empirically Testable and Makes Predictions
Yet, even Kenneth Miller, an Evolution supporter, agreed in the courtroom and under oath with Michel Behe's assertion that ID was testable. Says the above article.
Darwinists like Kenneth Miller point to the hope of future discoveries, and to the type III secretory system as a machine possibly co-opted on the evolutionary path to the flagellum. The argument is riddled with problems, but it shows that Miller, at least, understands perfectly well that Behe’s argument is testable.

Miller tried to sidestep this obvious point in his expert testimony at the Dover trial by conceding that Behe’s argument was testable but insisting that it was a purely negative argument against Neo-Darwinism, not a positive case for intelligent design. This is mere wishful thinking on Miller’s part. Behe’s argument is also based on positive evidence for design. Behe points to strongly positive grounds for inferring design from the presence of irreducibly complex machines and circuits. This testable evidence is so powerful, so nearly ubiquitous, that it is often overlooked. Go out and find irreducibly complex machines, then find out, where possible, their causal history. Again and again one will find that the irreducibly complex machines (mousetraps, motors, etc.) were designed by intelligent agents. Indeed, every time we know the causal history of an irreducibly complex system, it always turns out to have been the product of an intelligent cause.

Miller has conceded that Behe's irreducible complexity argument is testable. And we see that Miller's assertion that scientists have tested and falsified Behe's argument is itself false.
You decide.

Thoughtful Readers Speak:
Maybe I'm just a little dense...but every example of reduction and examination of the causal history is either something 'man' made, or something we don't know the history. So because of one example, us, that there was intelligent design behind something, the 'everything else' bucket must have a similar intelligent designer? That doesn't sound like science at all.

That aside, I'm not sure (and I know this isn't REALLY the topic but...) why there is even debate for intelligent design being taught beside evolution or anything else in schools. Science class, and learning about the theory of evolution (key word, theory) is not about tell people it's true, it's about teaching the scientific method. WHY did people come up with evolution? What EVIDENCE led them to their various conclusions? Intelligent design doesn't allow for any of this exploration.

If anything, we should fight to have a highschool level theology class. A forum specifically to deal with ideas that are clearly outside the bounds of science (and it's method). It's not about 'right' or 'wrong', it's about teaching people to think and work things out effectively. Whether people like it or not, there are often 'correct' ways to go about something. This does now, however, imply that there is only one correct way, just that there are 'incorrect' or as I like to call them, 'stupid' ways to go about things, like education. Thanks.
Look. If ID were useful, we'd use it. It's that simple. There's no conspiracy. Why do you think this debate is taking place in high schools and what do you think it is going to accomplish?

For future reference, evolutionnews.org may not be the best place to get accurate information, scientific or otherwise.
Erica, glad to have you as an active participant. Post anytime.

So, what you are saying is that ID isn't useful because you (and others) don't agree with it. That seems a bit shortsighted. Don't you agree?

So, you don't like evolutionnews.org. It probably is bias; maybe it may be better to say that they are open about their perspective and thus the articles therein reflect that position.

As the grad student that you are, you should become intimately aware that everything is biased--every journal, news article, book, encyclopedia. They way that you get published in peer-reviewed journals is that you support the perspectives of the editors who review your work.
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It's absolutly incorrect to assert that ID is testable. Sure, you can compare the probabilities of known things against Behe's Universal Probability Bound, but what does that get you? Just because it's less likely to occur unguided in one trial than 10^150 doesn't mean it was more likely guided; neither Behe nor anyone else gives us the probability of intelligent intervention in the universe to compare. They merely assert that it's more likely than 10^150, without providing any reason for the rest of us to agree.

Behe's ID is an excercise in personal incredulity, and as such, can't be tested. It's absolutely wrong to call ID science. If you believe in God, have faith that God is the creator. If you don't, don't. But people who lack the faith they want need to look within, not try to pervert science and the courts.
Not at all. There are many things I don't agree with that others find useful, but ID is not one of them. ID is useless because it hasn't lead to any major advances and it hasn't furthered our knowledge in any way. I challenge you to find any example of ID benefiting society.

The way you get published in a peer-reviewed journal is to submit a good paper. Not everybody in the scientific community agrees with each other all the time. A good example from my life is the tension between the morphological systematists and the molecular systematists. But just because there is bitching and moaning doesn't mean that we don't engage in meaningful discourse or that we stop being professional. After all, we have the same goal - to further knowledge for the betterment of humanity.

You also have to realize that one of the ways a scientist can make a name for herself is to come up with some revolutionary new idea that changes the status quo. If ID was that idea (and it's not, since it's just Creationism Lite) scientists would be falling all over themselves to take credit for it and get on the bandwagon.

I'm also not entirely certain why you support ID, JR. Unless, of course, you're going for the wedge strategy. You've stated that you believe in straight up 6 day creation, but ID doesn't necessarily include a 6 day creation.
Evolution is not supportable as a theory because there just isn't enough time in a 4.5 billion year old Earth for the changes necessary to produce today's diversity to have taken place! Confer William Dembski.
That's absolutely false. Moreover, Dembski has absolutely no formal training in any relevant scientific field, so his opinion on the matter is about as relevant as yours. Like Behe he uses complex mathematical language to conceal an argument that's nothing more than a statement of his own incredulity.
That's a load of bull, Randy. Perhaps you ought to read up on punctuated equilibrium and adaptive radiation.
Chet and Erica,
You show signs of being true (almost religious) believers in Darwinism. You know nothing of my background, and yet you state that my knowledge is irrelevant. And, your position that Dembski's vast background in mathematics is unscientific is absurd. I am glad, however, that you are willing to take part in discussions.
Guess what? Math ISN'T science. Science uses math, but the two work in very different ways. If you had a relevant background, you would know this.
Much of science, especially speculative science such as evolutionary theory, is based upon mathematical models. If you were more than a mere biologist, you would know this. Testy, testy, dear Erica!)
Mathematical reasoning and scientific reasoning are almost antithetical, which is why mathematicians make such poor scientists, usually. Math is a process of deduction from axioms assumed to be true; scientific reasoning is a process of inducting generalizations from specific observations. Complete opposites.

There's nothing religious about my position in regards to evolution (not "Darwinism", whatever that is.) I'll abandon it in a second in the face of sufficient disconfirming evidence. Can you truthfully make that same claim about your beliefs, Randy?

Oh, and one more thing. Watch your mouth when you're talking to my wife. I thought you conservative guys had respect for women.
Didn't I just say that science uses math?

P.S. Your profile says you work in construction. Please provide me with a reason to take you seriously.
Erica, certainly you wouldn't be suggesting that construction has nothing to do with math?
No, but it does have nothing to do with biology, which is the relevant field to be discussing evolution.
It is a great mistake to pretend that so-called "experts" (especially academic ones)will advance knowledge. Experts usually develop their own orthodoxy which they will jealously defend in spite of new facts or thinking (especially if they live off the public breast).
That's a charming anti-intellectual sentiment, but it's laughably wrong. Knowledge is not advanced by the ignorant. Expertise in a field is the only path to acheivement in it. True, outside thinking can stimulate new discoveries, but the vast, vast majority of new discoveries are made by experts who have toiled for years in their field.

Randy's statement is idiotically wrong, and betrays the classic distrust of training and expertise held by those who abhor scientific and technological advance.
No one can claim that evolutionary theory is an example of scientific or technological advance. My distrust is for the indoctrination suffered by those who think that chance determines destiny. How sad!
In fact, evolution is the most successful theory - in any scientific discipline - in the past 200 years. So indeed, it's a marvelous example of scientific progress. The theory has taken us light-years ahead in our understanding of the natural world.

Biology without evolution is little more than stamp collecting. Evolution forms a functional framework in which biology makes sense.

The only indoctrination in this area is the indoctrination of creationists; the proof that they've been indoctrinated is the abject failure of any of them to explain a single feature of the natural world via their concepts. Evolution gets the job done, which is an insurmountable proof of its fundamental accuracy.
It is difficult for me to understand those who reject knowledge as I am building my life around the persuit of it. You may not realize it, Randy, but scientists use evolution every day to help you. Are food and medicine important to you? Because modern agriculture and medicine depend heavily on the theory of evolution.

I would also like to point out that scientist is not synonymous with atheist. It may interest you to know that the majority of scientists find no conflict with the theory of evolution and their religious beliefs.
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