Mr. Darwin Can’t Get a Break

 

It can’t be easy to be Charles Darwin right now. (I mean, for reasons beyond the obvious.) A meticulous researcher and a serious and deeply respectful man, Mr. Darwin spent years carefully documenting and refining his seminal* theory of evolution through natural selection, delaying its presentation until similar discoveries by fellow British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace prompted him to go public and secure his claim as the father of evolutionary theory.

(And what is it with our British cousins, that they should produce simultaneously two men of such insight?)

Imagine for a moment if Galileo, whose encounter with the Catholic Church has been described in this fine piece by our own @Roderic, was today the target of pseudo-scientific sniping for Galileo’s enthusiastic support of the heliocentric model, and that a cottage industry of questionable academic rigor persisted in attempting to tear that theory down. Ponder a world in which the work of Isaac Newton (another big name in British science) was deemed risible by a gaggle of modern critics, despite his having discovered much of classical physics and — oh, yes — co-invented the calculus because plain old math wasn’t quite up to his needs.

Think about that, because that’s what Mr. Darwin has to put up with every single day.

Okay, there’s nothing wrong with questioning science. In fact, to do science is to question science: that’s what science is all about. But while doing science always entails questioning science, the act of questioning science is not always doing science (if that makes sense: it’s one of those p implies q does not imply that not-p implies not-q situations).

A couple of days ago the British newspaper The Telegraph ran a story about a criticism of Darwin mounted by the woke folks at Sheffield University in the UK. That story is paywalled at The Telegraph, but Breitbart is covering it here. The gist of the story is that the school deems evolutionary biology the stuff of white supremacy. The Telegraph quotes the school as writing “It is clear that science cannot be objective and apolitical…. [T]he curriculum we teach must acknowledge how colonialism has shaped the field of evolutionary biology and how evolutionary biologists think today,” and as calling for the “whiteness and Eurocentrism of our science” to be deconstructed.

It’s bad enough that Darwin’s work is attacked via pseudo-science from the right, as I mentioned recently in this piece (paywalled behind Ricochet) about the work of Stephen Meyer. Now the great naturalist is in the left’s crosshairs as well.


What caught my eye about the Breitbart piece (which was linked indirectly by Glenn Reynolds over at Instapundit) was, first, that it is about Darwin, a man I admire and with whom I share a birthday, but also that it mentioned Sheffield University. That august institution came up here recently in this piece I wrote about a quack woke geophysics lecturer at Sheffield calling for an end to the structural racism of the geoscience field. Or something.

 

* I have read that “seminal” is no longer considered appropriate, when discussing contributions in science. I can’t imagine why not.

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  1. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    No evolutionary apologist has ever been able to account for irreducible complexity and they never will, because the evolutionary model is absurd, or rather, non-factually based religion desperately clung to in opposition to overwhelming data.

    ??? No. That simply isn’t true. If it was true, China or some other country would have adopted a different system of biology to outcompete the U.S. The only way that you can get so many different people to agree for so long is if it was the best explanation currently.

    You mean–if it were true that the evolutionary model is absurd, then someone would have adopted a different system of biology to outcompete the US?

    • #271
  2. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    No evolutionary apologist has ever been able to account for irreducible complexity and they never will, because the evolutionary model is absurd, or rather, non-factually based religion desperately clung to in opposition to overwhelming data.

    ??? No. That simply isn’t true. If it was true, China or some other country would have adopted a different system of biology to outcompete the U.S. The only way that you can get so many different people to agree for so long is if it was the best explanation currently.

    You mean–if it were true that the evolutionary model is absurd, then someone would have adopted a different system of biology to outcompete the US?

    Yes.

    • #272
  3. Henry Racette Moderator
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Shawn Buell, Jeopardy Champ! (View Comment):

    GeezerBob (View Comment):
    How long has this scenario been playing out? Why haven’t the zebras developed counter weaponry? The answer is that they don’t have it in their genetic makeup. Try as you might, you cannot breed a giraffe from a butterfly. Moreover, what should be obvious from this example is that this pressure from the predators does not produce a change of species, but instead preserves the status quo. Had Mendel preceded Darwin, our understanding 0of this might be far different.

    Because that’s not how population genetics works? There is genetic variation among individuals in every species, which naturally gives rise to individuals having different capabilities and even different phenotypes.

    Sometimes, those different capabilities and phenotypes confer a survival advantage compared to other members of that species when exposed to selection pressure. That’s how you get the beginnings of speciation.

    I would recommend reading Nicholas Wade’s “A Troublesome Inheritance” for more details on this, and why Darwin was mainly in the right, but couldn’t have known why because he lacked the explanatory tool of DNA and genetic inheritance.

    No evolutionary apologist has ever been able to account for irreducible complexity and they never will, because the evolutionary model is absurd, or rather, non-factually based religion desperately clung to in opposition to overwhelming data.

    Vince, the beauty of science is that theories don’t need apologists. They need defenders who use the methods of science to defend them, and critics who use the methods of science to criticize them.

    I think you’re mistaken in your characterization of the status of evolutionary theory: I think it’s pretty robust, well-supported by science, and the best scientific theory currently available to describe what we observe.

    There have been several stabs at arguments from irreducible complexity. Besides being fundamentally unscientific, in that they take as their starting point an inherently unprovable assertion (“there is no way this could occur naturally”), they tend not to survive advances in our understanding. Perhaps the most famous such argument was that the eye was irreducibly complex. That one goes back well over a century, but is no longer considered a very good argument given how many forms of eyes — optical sensors — we’ve found in nature, of differing levels of complexity. It turns out that light sensitivity is useful even if there is no lens, no cornea, even nothing more than a light-sensitive patch of skin. It’s quite remarkable what nature seems to have created.

    • #273
  4. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    No evolutionary apologist has ever been able to account for irreducible complexity and they never will, because the evolutionary model is absurd, or rather, non-factually based religion desperately clung to in opposition to overwhelming data.

    ??? No. That simply isn’t true. If it was true, China or some other country would have adopted a different system of biology to outcompete the U.S. The only way that you can get so many different people to agree for so long is if it was the best explanation currently.

    You mean–if it were true that the evolutionary model is absurd, then someone would have adopted a different system of biology to outcompete the US?

    Yes.

    An interesting objection. I hesitate to say the objection is mistaken, and I likewise hesitate to endorse it. I’m not sure, for a start, that the scientists of other countries are likely to be much more rational than those of the USA–or that scientists will line up by country.

    • #274
  5. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    Besides being fundamentally unscientific, in that they take as their starting point an inherently unprovable assertion (“there is no way this could occur naturally”), they tend not to survive advances in our understanding. Perhaps the most famous such argument was that the eye was irreducibly complex. That one goes back well over a century, but is no longer considered a very good argument given how many forms of eyes — optical sensors — we’ve found in nature, of differing levels of complexity. It turns out that light sensitivity is useful even if there is no lens, no cornea, even nothing more than a light-sensitive patch of skin. It’s quite remarkable what nature seems to have created.

    So would it not be fair to say that the theory of the irreducible complexity of the eye has been falsified?

    • #275
  6. Henry Racette Moderator
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    Besides being fundamentally unscientific, in that they take as their starting point an inherently unprovable assertion (“there is no way this could occur naturally”), they tend not to survive advances in our understanding. Perhaps the most famous such argument was that the eye was irreducibly complex. That one goes back well over a century, but is no longer considered a very good argument given how many forms of eyes — optical sensors — we’ve found in nature, of differing levels of complexity. It turns out that light sensitivity is useful even if there is no lens, no cornea, even nothing more than a light-sensitive patch of skin. It’s quite remarkable what nature seems to have created.

    So would it not be fair to say that the theory of the irreducible complexity of the eye has been falsified?

    With the caveat that we never know for sure (because science never closes the book on anything), yes, I’d say that, in the case of the eye, we have a convincing selection of intermediate forms that make it hard to see it as a good example of an irreducible complexity candidate.

    • #276
  7. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    Besides being fundamentally unscientific, in that they take as their starting point an inherently unprovable assertion (“there is no way this could occur naturally”), they tend not to survive advances in our understanding. Perhaps the most famous such argument was that the eye was irreducibly complex. That one goes back well over a century, but is no longer considered a very good argument given how many forms of eyes — optical sensors — we’ve found in nature, of differing levels of complexity. It turns out that light sensitivity is useful even if there is no lens, no cornea, even nothing more than a light-sensitive patch of skin. It’s quite remarkable what nature seems to have created.

    So would it not be fair to say that the theory of the irreducible complexity of the eye has been falsified?

    With the caveat that we never know for sure (because science never closes the book on anything), yes, I’d say that, in the case of the eye, we have a convincing selection of intermediate forms that make it hard to see it as a good example of an irreducible complexity candidate.

    Great.  So that particular ID thesis was scientific.  Failed science, but scientific–if we stick with Popper’s falsifiability criterion.

    • #277
  8. Henry Racette Moderator
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    Besides being fundamentally unscientific, in that they take as their starting point an inherently unprovable assertion (“there is no way this could occur naturally”), they tend not to survive advances in our understanding. Perhaps the most famous such argument was that the eye was irreducibly complex. That one goes back well over a century, but is no longer considered a very good argument given how many forms of eyes — optical sensors — we’ve found in nature, of differing levels of complexity. It turns out that light sensitivity is useful even if there is no lens, no cornea, even nothing more than a light-sensitive patch of skin. It’s quite remarkable what nature seems to have created.

    So would it not be fair to say that the theory of the irreducible complexity of the eye has been falsified?

    With the caveat that we never know for sure (because science never closes the book on anything), yes, I’d say that, in the case of the eye, we have a convincing selection of intermediate forms that make it hard to see it as a good example of an irreducible complexity candidate.

    Great. So that particular ID thesis was scientific. Failed science, but scientific–if we stick with Popper’s falsifiability criterion.

    I don’t think there’s anything inherently unscientific about claiming that some thing is the product of intelligent design. The universe may be full of intelligent designers, for all we know. We leave the realm of science when we invoke the supernatural.

    • #278
  9. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    I don’t think there’s anything inherently unscientific about claiming that some thing is the product of intelligent design. The universe may be full of intelligent designers, for all we know. We leave the realm of science when we invoke the supernatural.

    Seriously?

    It looks like you don’t know what Intelligent Design theory actually is.  Fundamentally, it’s the theory that at least some of the natural world was designed (and not by us).  It might be more precise to say that it’s a cluster of theories including but not limited to that one; some theories would, no doubt, posit a G-d.

    Dembski patiently explains that his bit is entirely consistent with extraterrestrial design, and I’m pretty sure it actually is.

    • #279
  10. Henry Racette Moderator
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    I don’t think there’s anything inherently unscientific about claiming that some thing is the product of intelligent design. The universe may be full of intelligent designers, for all we know. We leave the realm of science when we invoke the supernatural.

    Seriously?

    It looks like you don’t know what Intelligent Design theory actually is. Dembski patiently explains that his bit is entirely consistent with extraterrestrial design.

    My friend, you may be reading words into what I wrote that simply aren’t there. Or perhaps I just don’t understand what you’re saying.

    I haven’t made a claim about “what Intelligent Design theory actually is.” I said that claiming that something is the product of intelligent design — that is, claiming that something has been designed by an intelligence — isn’t an inherently unscientific statement. For example, I believe that my Yukon is the product of intelligent design; nothing unscientific about that assertion.

    As I said, it’s the introduction of a supernatural element that takes us out of science and into something else.

     

     

    • #280
  11. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    I don’t think there’s anything inherently unscientific about claiming that some thing is the product of intelligent design. The universe may be full of intelligent designers, for all we know. We leave the realm of science when we invoke the supernatural.

    Seriously?

    It looks like you don’t know what Intelligent Design theory actually is. Dembski patiently explains that his bit is entirely consistent with extraterrestrial design.

    My friend, you may be reading words into what I wrote that simply aren’t there. Or perhaps I just don’t understand what you’re saying.

    I haven’t made a claim about “what Intelligent Design theory actually is.” I said that claiming that something is the product of intelligent design — that is, claiming that something has been designed by an intelligence — isn’t an inherently unscientific statement. For example, I believe that my Yukon is the product of intelligent design; nothing unscientific about that assertion.

    As I said, it’s the introduction of a supernatural element that takes us out of science and into something else.

    Just upgraded the comment for clarity, but a bit too late!

    Yeah, look, that’s fine.  But I’m not reading anything into your words here.

    I’m drawing from other you say about Intelligent Design, and I’m not reading into them.

    If you really only have a problem with Intelligent Design that specifically posits a supernatural designer, then any number of comments you’ve made in this thread were very badly phrased.

    Example: In # 192, after describing the positing of a supernatural, you should not have said “That’s intelligent design.”  You should have said something like, “That’s the kind of intelligent design theory I don’t like.”

    • #281
  12. Henry Racette Moderator
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    I don’t think there’s anything inherently unscientific about claiming that some thing is the product of intelligent design. The universe may be full of intelligent designers, for all we know. We leave the realm of science when we invoke the supernatural.

    Seriously?

    It looks like you don’t know what Intelligent Design theory actually is. Dembski patiently explains that his bit is entirely consistent with extraterrestrial design.

    My friend, you may be reading words into what I wrote that simply aren’t there. Or perhaps I just don’t understand what you’re saying.

    I haven’t made a claim about “what Intelligent Design theory actually is.” I said that claiming that something is the product of intelligent design — that is, claiming that something has been designed by an intelligence — isn’t an inherently unscientific statement. For example, I believe that my Yukon is the product of intelligent design; nothing unscientific about that assertion.

    As I said, it’s the introduction of a supernatural element that takes us out of science and into something else.

    Just upgraded the comment for clarity, but a bit too late!

    Yeah, look, that’s fine. But I’m not reading anything into your words here.

    I’m drawing from other you say about Intelligent Design, and I’m not reading into them.

    If you really only have a problem with Intelligent Design that specifically posits a supernatural designer, then any number of comments you’ve made in this thread were very badly phrased.

    Example: In # 192, after describing the positing of a supernatural, you should not have said “That’s intelligent design.” You should have said something like, “That’s the kind of intelligent design theory I don’t like.”

    Oh, you got me, SA. I did think that everyone here understood that I was objecting specifically to the suggestion of supernatural actors. Mea culpa.

    Now that that’s clear, does it change your opinion about the issue that divides us? Because I’m guessing it probably doesn’t.

    • #282
  13. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    One of the things that make it hard to talk productively about this topic is that there’s so much baggage that goes along with our assumptions. People of a scientific bent are often perceived to be contemptuous of people of faith; people of faith are often perceived to be wallowing in ignorance.

    Sorry it’s taken so long to respond.  I’ve actually written to you three comments all of which ran over 500 words.  So I’ll try to be brief.

    The supernatural and the natural are both aspects of one reality.  To profess to explain the one while ignoring the other is unreasonable.  I suppose it comes down to what truth you hold dear and place your trust in.

    Man shall not live by bread alone (the material), but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God (the spiritual).  Reality is one consistent whole including both.  Modern science discounts the greater bit.

    • #283
  14. Henry Racette Moderator
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    One of the things that make it hard to talk productively about this topic is that there’s so much baggage that goes along with our assumptions. People of a scientific bent are often perceived to be contemptuous of people of faith; people of faith are often perceived to be wallowing in ignorance.

    Sorry it’s taken so long to respond. I’ve actually written to you three comments all of which ran over 500 words. So I’ll try to be brief.

    The supernatural and the natural are both aspects of one reality.

    Flick, if the supernatural is real, then I can agree with that statement. I’m pretty sure the natural is real; I’m less confident about the supernatural.

    But “science” is the study of the natural, not the supernatural. That’s really the point I’m trying to make.

    • #284
  15. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Oh, you got me, SA. I did think that everyone here understood that I was objecting specifically to the suggestion of supernatural actors. Mea culpa.

    Thank you.

    Now that that’s clear, does it change your opinion about the issue that divides us? Because I’m guessing it probably doesn’t.

    But this isn’t clear at all.  If there was so little clarity in all those earlier hundreds of comments, it’s hard to be sure the last 5 comments have suddenly been clear.  This is quite the–ahem–paradigm shift.

    So we’ve been talking about at least four distinct statements about or objections to ID.  Am I now supposed to reevaluate them on the assumption that you didn’t mean what you said, and only meant this other, narrower claim?

    And what on earth do you think is the issue that divides us?  I didn’t even object to two of your objections!

    Well, I can try to start somewhere.  You said ID is not falsifiable, and apparently you only meant that ID-plus-supernatural-claims are not falsifiable.  Yes, this changes nothing; I already wasn’t objecting to that claim.

    Something else changes things, though.  I wasn’t objecting, but you’ve set up an objection yourself: The claim that G-d must have designed the eye because it’s irreducibly complex must be falsifiable since it has been falsified.

    • #285
  16. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    One of the things that make it hard to talk productively about this topic is that there’s so much baggage that goes along with our assumptions. People of a scientific bent are often perceived to be contemptuous of people of faith; people of faith are often perceived to be wallowing in ignorance.

    Sorry it’s taken so long to respond. I’ve actually written to you three comments all of which ran over 500 words. So I’ll try to be brief.

    The supernatural and the natural are both aspects of one reality.

    Flick, if the supernatural is real, then I can agree with that statement. I’m pretty sure the natural is real; I’m less confident about the supernatural.

    But “science” is the study of the natural, not the supernatural. That’s really the point I’m trying to make.

    But the creation of the universe was an unobservable, one-time event, occurring in the distant past, making everything out of nothing, or expanding everything out of something the size of a walnut, that existed outside of time and then created time and space, or existed in time, and then one day without any cause expanded creating space, and it is irreproducible.  This does not fit the characterization of supernatural I don’t know what does.  This is similar to, but greater than, multiplying the loaves and fishes, or even perhaps akin to, but lesser than, Jesus’ resurrection.  How can one say it is natural except to say, “Well, it happened. So, it must be natural.”  Well, multiplying the loaves and fishes happened, but that’s considered supernatural — but it’s the same thing: something out of nothing.

    • #286
  17. Henry Racette Moderator
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Oh, you got me, SA. I did think that everyone here understood that I was objecting specifically to the suggestion of supernatural actors. Mea culpa.

    Thank you.

    Now that that’s clear, does it change your opinion about the issue that divides us? Because I’m guessing it probably doesn’t.

    But this isn’t clear at all. If there was so little clarity in all those earlier hundreds of comments, it’s hard to be sure the last 5 comments have suddenly been clear.

    This is quite the–ahem–paradigm shift

    So we’ve been talking about at least four distinct statements about or objections to ID. Am I supposed to reevaluate them on the assumption that you didn’t mean what you said, and only meant this other, narrower claim?

    And what on earth do you think is the issue that divides us? I didn’t even object to two of your objections!

    Well, I can try to start somewhere. You said ID is not falsifiable, and apparently you only meant that ID-plus-supernatural-claims are not falsifiable.

    Well, this changes nothing. Something else changes things, though. I wasn’t objecting, but you’ve set up your own objection yourself: The claim that G-d must have designed the eye because it’s irreducibly complex is falsifiable because it has been falsified.

    I am having a hard time taking this seriously. Can you honestly say that you didn’t understand that my objection all along has been the introduction of a supernatural actor? I’m a big flabbergasted. But, okay. Now that you know, let’s move on.


    The claim that G-d must have designed the eye because it’s irreducibly complex is falsifiable because it has been falsified.

    What has been falsified is the claim that the eye couldn’t plausibly have arisen through natural processes.

    What you’re making is an argument about logic. If I say “a zebra made one equal to zero,” will you call it a mathematical statement about zoology when I point out that one does not equal zero? No. The math was confined to the claim that one is equal to zero. Whatever was logically predicated on that false statement is logically false, but that’s a matter of logic, not math. Math has nothing to say about zebras.

    Similarly, the science is confined to the proposition that the eye is irreducibly complex. You’re welcome to choose to predicate supernatural assertions on that statement of science, but such claims aren’t claims of science and science has nothing to say about them. The claim of irreducible complexity is a claim of science, and science has something to say about that.

    • #287
  18. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    . . .

    This is quite the–ahem–paradigm shift

    So we’ve been talking about at least four distinct statements about or objections to ID. Am I supposed to reevaluate them on the assumption that you didn’t mean what you said, and only meant this other, narrower claim?

    And what on earth do you think is the issue that divides us? I didn’t even object to two of your objections!

    Well, I can try to start somewhere. You said ID is not falsifiable, and apparently you only meant that ID-plus-supernatural-claims are not falsifiable.

    Well, this changes nothing. Something else changes things, though. I wasn’t objecting, but you’ve set up your own objection yourself: The claim that G-d must have designed the eye because it’s irreducibly complex is falsifiable because it has been falsified.

    I am having a hard time taking this seriously. Can you honestly say that you didn’t understand that my objection all along has been the introduction of a supernatural actor?

    Of course I can honestly say no such thing!  That that was your objection was perfectly clear.

    What was not clear was that you were not objecting to ID, but only to certain versions of it or to certain steps taken in addition to its main thesis.

    What has been falsified is the claim that the eye couldn’t plausibly have arisen through natural processes.

    What you’re making is an argument about logic.

    But of course.

    If I say “a zebra made one equal to zero,” will you call it a mathematical statement about zoology when I point out that one does not equal zero? No. The math was confined to the claim that one is equal to zero.

    Now try presenting the claim “A zebra made one equal to zero” as a zoological claim.  A mathematical refutation will still be quite sufficient to refute it.

    Now take the conjunction of three claims: “The eye is irreducibly complex” and “If it is, G-d designed it,” and “G-d designed it.”  That conjunction may be falsified by the falsification of one of its parts; the affirmation of propositions A + B + C is falsified by the falsification of A.

    But then–I suppose you could say that the conjunction of all three is not itself theological; it’s part science and part theology, and the characteristics of the parts don’t apply to the whole.  So maybe that doesn’t falsify a supernatural claim.  Yeah, I was probably wrong about that!

    • #288
  19. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    I’m a big flabbergasted. . . .

    . . .

    The claim of irreducible complexity is a claim of science, and science has something to say about that.

    HR himself has now proclaimed intelligent design’s idea of irreducible complexity to be a scientific theory.

    Downright flabbergasting.

    • #289
  20. Henry Racette Moderator
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    I’m a big flabbergasted. . . .

    . . .

    The claim of irreducible complexity is a claim of science, and science has something to say about that.

    HR himself has now proclaimed intelligent design’s idea of irreducible complexity to be a scientific theory.

    Quite flabbergasting.

    I enjoy debating with you SA.

    What I said was that irreducible complexity is a claim of science. You’re free to declare it “intelligent design’s idea,” but the claim itself is independent of whatever is offered as a solution for the conundrum it purportedly creates.

    • #290
  21. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    I enjoy debating with you SA.

    What I said was that irreducible complexity is a claim of science. You’re free to declare it “intelligent design’s idea,” . . .

    Well, it is.  I am in favor of declaring facts when the situation calls for it.

    . . . but the claim itself is independent of whatever is offered as a solution for the conundrum it purportedly creates.

    Apparently not only that claim is science!  Based on # 278, apparently the denial of a gradual origin and the solution–the claim of ID itself–are also scientific!

    I believe you’re categorizing Behe’s book, Dembski’s book, and (at least portions of) an earlier book by Meyer all as science!

    I find flabbergasting the idea that anyone would not be flabbergasted by this.  If this is what ID gets from its enemies these days, perhaps I should retire from my position as its friend!

    • #291
  22. Henry Racette Moderator
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    I enjoy debating with you SA.

    What I said was that irreducible complexity is a claim of science. You’re free to declare it “intelligent design’s idea,” . . .

    Well, it is. I am in favor of declaring facts when the situation calls for it.

    The idea of irreducible complexity stands alone. No larger theory owns it. That doesn’t even make sense.

    . . . but the claim itself is independent of whatever is offered as a solution for the conundrum it purportedly creates.

    Apparently not only that claim is science! Based on # 278, apparently the denial of a gradual origin and the solution–the claim of ID itself–are also scientific!

    Yes, until — as I said in #278 — a supernatural agent is introduced. Then it stops being scientific.

    This seems to be a sticking point for you. It isn’t the idea of irreducible complexity, nor the idea of intelligent design (and here I use the phrase in its broadest sense, to include naturalistic designers), that removes a claim from the realm of the scientific. It is the introduction of the supernatural. Because science is the study of natural, not supernatural, processes.

    I believe you’re categorizing Behe’s book, Dembski’s book, and (at least portions of) an earlier book by Meyer all as science!

    No, I’m sure I haven’t. I have suggested that these men use the language of science as a means to convince gullible people that what they are doing is science, when what they are proposing really isn’t science at all. That’s been a consistent criticism I’ve made, that they blur science into non-science in a way that people who don’t know better will find persuasive.

    • #292
  23. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    I enjoy debating with you SA.

    What I said was that irreducible complexity is a claim of science. You’re free to declare it “intelligent design’s idea,” . . .

    Well, it is. I am in favor of declaring facts when the situation calls for it.

    The idea of irreducible complexity stands alone. No larger theory owns it. That doesn’t even make sense.

    It is normally touted by ID as a tradition.  But you are correct–ID defined as a theory does not own it.

    . . . but the claim itself is independent of whatever is offered as a solution for the conundrum it purportedly creates.

    Apparently not only that claim is science! Based on # 278, apparently the denial of a gradual origin and the solution–the claim of ID itself–are also scientific!

    Yes — until, as I said in #278 — a supernatural agent is introduced.

    This seems to be a sticking point for you. It isn’t the idea of irreducible complexity, nor the idea of intelligent design, that removes a claim from the realm of the scientific. It is the introduction of the supernatural. Because science is the study of natural, not supernatural, processes.

    I believe you’re categorizing Behe’s book, Dembski’s book, and (at least portions of) an earlier book by Meyer all as science!

    No, I’m sure I haven’t.

    The scientific theses of IC, denial of a gradual origin, and ID are the theses of those books, are they not?

    I have suggested that these men use the language of science as a means to convince gullible people that what they are doing is science, when what they are proposing really isn’t science at all. That’s been a consistent criticism I’ve made, that they blur science into non-science in a way that people who don’t know better will find persuasive.

    Sure.  I alternate between shock that you ever said you had a problem with ID as such and shock that you’re now calling ID as such a science.  (The first shock for the new paradigm in HR interpretation, the second shock for the old!)

    • #293
  24. Ansonia Member
    Ansonia
    @Ansonia

    Stad (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: Darwin, a man I admire and with whom I share a birthday

    You know, you look great for your age . . .

    🤣🤣😂

    • #294
  25. Henry Racette Moderator
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    I enjoy debating with you SA.

    What I said was that irreducible complexity is a claim of science. You’re free to declare it “intelligent design’s idea,” . . .

    Well, it is. I am in favor of declaring facts when the situation calls for it.

    The idea of irreducible complexity stands alone. No larger theory owns it. That doesn’t even make sense.

    It is normally touted by ID as a tradition. But you are correct–ID defined as a theory does not own it.

    . . . but the claim itself is independent of whatever is offered as a solution for the conundrum it purportedly creates.

    Apparently not only that claim is science! Based on # 278, apparently the denial of a gradual origin and the solution–the claim of ID itself–are also scientific!

    Yes — until, as I said in #278 — a supernatural agent is introduced.

    This seems to be a sticking point for you. It isn’t the idea of irreducible complexity, nor the idea of intelligent design, that removes a claim from the realm of the scientific. It is the introduction of the supernatural. Because science is the study of natural, not supernatural, processes.

    I believe you’re categorizing Behe’s book, Dembski’s book, and (at least portions of) an earlier book by Meyer all as science!

    No, I’m sure I haven’t.

    The scientific theses of IC, denial of a gradual origin, and ID are the theses of those books, are they not?

    I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make here, SA. The books are a mix of science and theology, using the language and the tone of popularized accounts of science to convey a sense of rigor, but making claims (e.g., of supernatural actors, in at least some cases) that step outside of science. It’s certainly possible to mix science and non-science in a single book, right? This doesn’t seem like a difficult concept.

    I have suggested that these men use the language of science as a means to convince gullible people that what they are doing is science, when what they are proposing really isn’t science at all. That’s been a consistent criticism I’ve made, that they blur science into non-science in a way that people who don’t know better will find persuasive.

    Sure. I alternate between shock that you ever said you had a problem with ID as such and shock that you’re now calling ID as such a science. (The first shock for the new paradigm in HR interpretation, the second shock for the old!)

    Well, again, let’s alleviate your shock regarding the first point: the intelligent design argument I accuse of being unscientific is specifically the supernatural one; there’s nothing intrinsically unscientific about naturalistic intelligent design arguments. If that wasn’t clear from my voluminous writing here… well, I think it probably was, actually. But in any case, it should be clear now.

    And you’re mischaracterizing me on your second point: I’m not “calling ID as such a science.” I’m saying that there’s nothing inherently unscientific about saying “someone or something designed this.” I’m saying there’s something unscientific about saying “a supernatural power designed this.”

    This is beginning to feel like an exercise in “gotcha,” SA. I’ve had one position all along, and I think I’ve expressed it many times now:

    Invoking a supernatural actor takes the argument out of the realm of science.

    The irreducible complexity argument alone doesn’t necessarily require a supernatural actor. The “intelligent design” argument alone doesn’t necessarily imply a supernatural actor. It is the assertion of something outside of the context of the natural universe and independent of it, not bound by its physical rules and properties, that abandons science in favor of some flavor of theology.

    • #295
  26. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    The scientific theses of IC, denial of a gradual origin, and ID are the theses of those books, are they not?

    I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make here, SA.

    The point I just made, of course:

    Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box, Dembski’s Intelligent Design, and at least one earlier book by Meyer (as I recall Meyer explaining on his recent Ricochet appearance) have for their theses irreducible complexity, denial of a gradual origin for that which is irreducibly complex, and intelligent design.  Those claims, you acknowledge, are not unscientific.

    It’s certainly possible to mix science and non-science in a single book, right?

    Sure. And I’ve never read Meyer, so I can’t confirm that his earlier book doesn’t do that. And perhaps there is some sentence in the Behe or Dembski book touting supernaturalism.

    But I am referring to the theses of the books, not to some additional claim which I have no memory of having seen accompany the theses.

    Well, again, let’s alleviate your shock regarding the first point: the intelligent design argument I accuse of being unscientific is specifically the supernatural one; there’s nothing intrinsically unscientific about naturalistic intelligent design arguments. If that wasn’t clear from my voluminous writing here… well, I think it probably was, actually. But in any case, it should be clear now.

    Once again, that part was perfectly clear.

    And you’re mischaracterizing me on your second point: I’m not “calling ID as such a science.” I’m saying that there’s nothing inherently unscientific about saying “someone or something designed this.”

    That is ID as such.  In other words, that is the actual thesis of intelligent design.

    (ID as a tradition, of course, includes various theses and arguments and arguers.)

    • #296
  27. Henry Racette Moderator
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    The scientific theses of IC, denial of a gradual origin, and ID are the theses of those books, are they not?

    I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make here, SA.

    The point I just made, of course:

    Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box, Dembski’s Intelligent Design, and at least one earlier book by Meyer (as I recall Meyer explaining on his recent Ricochet appearance) have for their theses irreducible complexity, denial of a gradual origin for that which is irreducibly complex, and intelligent design. Those claims, you acknowledge, are not unscientific.

    It’s certainly possible to mix science and non-science in a single book, right?

    Sure. And I’ve never read Meyer, so I can’t confirm that his earlier book doesn’t do that. And perhaps there is some sentence in the Behe or Dembski book touting supernaturalism.

    But I am referring to the theses of the books, not to some additional claim which I have no memory of having seen accompany the theses.

    Well, again, let’s alleviate your shock regarding the first point: the intelligent design argument I accuse of being unscientific is specifically the supernatural one; there’s nothing intrinsically unscientific about naturalistic intelligent design arguments. If that wasn’t clear from my voluminous writing here… well, I think it probably was, actually. But in any case, it should be clear now.

    Once again, that part was perfectly clear.

    And you’re mischaracterizing me on your second point: I’m not “calling ID as such a science.” I’m saying that there’s nothing inherently unscientific about saying “someone or something designed this.”

    That is ID as such. In other words, that is the actual thesis of intelligent design.

    (ID as a tradition, of course, includes various theses and arguments and arguers.)


    Well it sounds like we’re probably in agreement: one can make scientific claims of irreducible complexity and/or intelligent design, as long as one doesn’t posit the supernatural. At that point it stops being scientific.

    Took us a long time to get here, but I guess things worth doing are worth doing thoroughly, right?

    • #297
  28. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Well it sounds like we’re probably in agreement: one can make scientific claims of irreducible complexity and/or intelligent design, as long as one doesn’t posit the supernatural. At that point it stops being scientific.

    Took us a long time to get here, but I guess things worth doing are worth doing thoroughly, right?

    Well, . . . darn close.

    We don’t disagree.

    But I wouldn’t want to say a supernatural claim can’t be science without first figuring out what science is.  (Not to mention that some religious claims are falsifiable, as I’ve shown elsewhere.)

    • #298
  29. Henry Racette Moderator
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Well it sounds like we’re probably in agreement: one can make scientific claims of irreducible complexity and/or intelligent design, as long as one doesn’t posit the supernatural. At that point it stops being scientific.

    Took us a long time to get here, but I guess things worth doing are worth doing thoroughly, right?

    Well, . . . darn close.

    We don’t disagree.

    But I wouldn’t want to say a supernatural claim can’t be science without first figuring out what science is. (Not to mention that some religious claims are falsifiable, as I’ve shown elsewhere.)

    Well, then yes: close.

    And close is pretty good, even if the thing about which we disagree is pretty much the sine qua non of the discussion.

    • #299
  30. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Well it sounds like we’re probably in agreement: one can make scientific claims of irreducible complexity and/or intelligent design, as long as one doesn’t posit the supernatural. At that point it stops being scientific.

    Took us a long time to get here, but I guess things worth doing are worth doing thoroughly, right?

    Well, . . . darn close.

    We don’t disagree.

    But I wouldn’t want to say a supernatural claim can’t be science without first figuring out what science is. (Not to mention that some religious claims are falsifiable, as I’ve shown elsewhere.)

    Well, then yes: close.

    And close is pretty good, even if the thing about which we disagree is pretty much the sine qua non of the discussion.

    Not for the first time, I wonder what exactly you think we disagree about.

    • #300
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