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. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    By presuming a who, the intelligent design advocates seem to believe that the how — the great question of science — is made irrelevant. Why do they think that? Perhaps because they intuitively understand that science stops dead with the invocation of a metaphysical creator: the assertion not only abandons science, but rejects the rules of science and makes any further inquiry pointless.

    I have noticed that Intelligent designers are often more interested in G-d than the physical universe. That’s a problem.

    Why is that a problem? I seem to be pretty healthy compared to non science people who are obsessed with the physical universe.

    • #61
  2. Henry Racette Moderator
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Stina (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    By presuming a who, the intelligent design advocates seem to believe that the how — the great question of science — is made irrelevant. Why do they think that? Perhaps because they intuitively understand that science stops dead with the invocation of a metaphysical creator: the assertion not only abandons science, but rejects the rules of science and makes any further inquiry pointless.

    I have noticed that Intelligent designers are often more interested in G-d than the physical universe. That’s a problem.

    Why is that a problem? I seem to be pretty healthy compared to non science people who are obsessed with the physical universe.

    It’s a problem in terms of science, Stina. It’s no problem so far as living a good life is concerned — might even be the healthy choice, actually. But, just as it would be a problem in, say, rocketry or electronic engineering or organic chemistry, it’s a problem in science in general. Domains have rules that keep them consistent and functional. Theology and the physical sciences are different domains with different rules, and neither works well when they’re combined.

    • #62
  3. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Theology and the physical sciences are different domains with different rules, and neither works well when they’re combined.

    I would say that they usually aren’t combined well. I think it might be possible to combine them in an effective fashion but it isn’t happening at this point in time. Ibn Sina and Pascal would like to unify theology and science from what I’ve heard. 

    • #63
  4. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Ok, so not the argument to irreducible complexity. Just the argument from irreducible complexity to intelligent design.

    Good!

    Now, first, I don’t recall Behe making an ID argument in Darwin’s Black Box. Just an argument to irreducible complexity, and from there no more than an argument against the gradualist (macro-)evolutionary paradigm.

    Second, would you say that an argument from irreducible complexity to intelligent design goes more or less like this?

    There are irreducibly complex systems in nature.
    Such systems could have been designed by an intelligence.
    We have no idea how they could have occurred naturally and mechanistically.
    Therefore, they are probably designed by an intelligence.

    You’re making a distinction, with your from and to, that I’m not willing to make.

    Then you are ignoring, along with my question, the very arguments you want to refute.

    Science must proceed from the assumption that a naturalistic explanation exists, whether or not we can see it.

    No, it doesn’t.  That’s not science. That scientism.

    Both humility and self-discipline are required of scientists. The “and here a miracle happens” explanation is an option available to theologians, but not to scientists, because the assertion of miracles breaks the rules under which science operates: . . . .

    Better review what a miracle is.

    The domain of science does not include the option of miracles.

    Well, that is correct. Why not tell someone who doesn’t already know it?

    • #64
  5. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    One of the things that troubles me about the intelligent design argument is that it doesn’t actually answer the questions it is invoked to address. Those questions are questions of “how?” How did the universe come into being? How did life begin? How did organisms reach their current state of diversity?

    What intelligent design tries to provide is a who.

    Rubbish.  A who answer is an answer to a how question if the how question is about characteristics of design.

    It says nothing about how, so much neglecting the question that I’ve never heard anyone even pretend to attempt to explain how the hypothesized intelligent designer might have implemented his design.

    In the way the designer wanted to, I daresay. A six-day creationist tends to think it was done directly, and a theistic evolutionist says G-d guided the evolutionary process.

    • #65
  6. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    I would say that they usually aren’t combined well. I think it might be possible to combine them in an effective fashion but it isn’t happening at this point in time. Ibn Sina and Pascal would like to unify theology and science from what I’ve heard. 

    Lots of people talk about doing that–or doing some like that.  William James, John Dewey, Allama Iqbal, Thomas Aquinas.

    • #66
  7. Henry Racette Moderator
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    One of the things that troubles me about the intelligent design argument is that it doesn’t actually answer the questions it is invoked to address. Those questions are questions of “how?” How did the universe come into being? How did life begin? How did organisms reach their current state of diversity?

    What intelligent design tries to provide is a who.

    Rubbish.  A who answer is an answer to a how question if the how question is about characteristics of design.

    I don’t think the who answers the how. I mean, I can look at DNA and see how it is and understand how it works, but that doesn’t tell me how whoever designed it, allegedly designed it, actually assembled the first thing. Did they use machinery? A laboratory? Did they manipulate the natural environment and, if so, how?

    If we’re talking about a god designing the universe, how did he do that? Does it all come down to “he willed it into being?” That’s the standard theistic explanation, but it doesn’t actually explain anything. It provides no mechanism, any more than saying it’s “a suspension of the laws of physics” is an explanation.

    I’m sorry, but I’m not willing to accept an answer that is, essentially, “it depends on what the definition of ‘how’ is.”

    • #67
  8. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    One of the things that troubles me about the intelligent design argument is that it doesn’t actually answer the questions it is invoked to address. Those questions are questions of “how?” How did the universe come into being? How did life begin? How did organisms reach their current state of diversity?

    What intelligent design tries to provide is a who.

    Rubbish. A who answer is an answer to a how question if the how question is about characteristics of design.

    I don’t think the who answers the how. I mean, I can look at DNA and see how it is and understand how it works, but that doesn’t tell me how whoever designed it, allegedly designed it, actually assembled the first thing. Did they use machinery? A laboratory? Did they manipulate the natural environment and, if so, how?

    If we’re talking about a god designing the universe, how did he do that? Does it all come down to “he willed it into being?” That’s the standard theistic explanation, but it doesn’t actually explain anything. It provides no mechanism, any more than saying it’s “a suspension of the laws of physics” is an explanation.

    I’m sorry, but I’m not willing to accept an answer that is, essentially, “it depends on what the definition of ‘how’ is.”

    It doesn’t depend on the definition of how. That’s not even remotely what I said.

    It depends on the content of the question.

    • #68
  9. Henry Racette Moderator
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    One of the things that troubles me about the intelligent design argument is that it doesn’t actually answer the questions it is invoked to address. Those questions are questions of “how?” How did the universe come into being? How did life begin? How did organisms reach their current state of diversity?

    What intelligent design tries to provide is a who.

    Rubbish. A who answer is an answer to a how question if the how question is about characteristics of design.

    I don’t think the who answers the how. I mean, I can look at DNA and see how it is and understand how it works, but that doesn’t tell me how whoever designed it, allegedly designed it, actually assembled the first thing. Did they use machinery? A laboratory? Did they manipulate the natural environment and, if so, how?

    If we’re talking about a god designing the universe, how did he do that? Does it all come down to “he willed it into being?” That’s the standard theistic explanation, but it doesn’t actually explain anything. It provides no mechanism, any more than saying it’s “a suspension of the laws of physics” is an explanation.

    I’m sorry, but I’m not willing to accept an answer that is, essentially, “it depends on what the definition of ‘how’ is.”

    It doesn’t depend on the definition of how. That’s not even remotely what I said.

    It depends on the content of the question.

    Is the assertion is that there was an intelligent designer of the mechanism of genetic replication? If so, how is it alleged that he/she/it caused that design to be implemented? That’s the how that I think the intelligent design proponents fail to answer.

    • #69
  10. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    One of the things that troubles me about the intelligent design argument is that it doesn’t actually answer the questions it is invoked to address. Those questions are questions of “how?” How did the universe come into being? How did life begin? How did organisms reach their current state of diversity?

    What intelligent design tries to provide is a who.

    Rubbish. A who answer is an answer to a how question if the how question is about characteristics of design.

    I don’t think the who answers the how. I mean, I can look at DNA and see how it is and understand how it works, but that doesn’t tell me how whoever designed it, allegedly designed it, actually assembled the first thing. Did they use machinery? A laboratory? Did they manipulate the natural environment and, if so, how?

    If we’re talking about a god designing the universe, how did he do that? Does it all come down to “he willed it into being?” That’s the standard theistic explanation, but it doesn’t actually explain anything. It provides no mechanism, any more than saying it’s “a suspension of the laws of physics” is an explanation.

    I’m sorry, but I’m not willing to accept an answer that is, essentially, “it depends on what the definition of ‘how’ is.”

    It doesn’t depend on the definition of how. That’s not even remotely what I said.

    It depends on the content of the question.

    Is the assertion is that there was an intelligent designer of the mechanism of genetic replication? If so, how is it alleged that he/she/it caused that design to be implemented? That’s the how that I think the intelligent design proponents fail to answer.

    Why don’t you start with the question they’re actually trying to answer?

    • #70
  11. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    One of the things that troubles me about the intelligent design argument is that it doesn’t actually answer the questions it is invoked to address. Those questions are questions of “how?” How did the universe come into being? How did life begin? How did organisms reach their current state of diversity?

    What intelligent design tries to provide is a who.

    Rubbish. A who answer is an answer to a how question if the how question is about characteristics of design.

    I don’t think the who answers the how. I mean, I can look at DNA and see how it is and understand how it works, but that doesn’t tell me how whoever designed it, allegedly designed it, actually assembled the first thing. Did they use machinery? A laboratory? Did they manipulate the natural environment and, if so, how?

    If we’re talking about a god designing the universe, how did he do that? Does it all come down to “he willed it into being?” That’s the standard theistic explanation, but it doesn’t actually explain anything. It provides no mechanism, any more than saying it’s “a suspension of the laws of physics” is an explanation.

    I’m sorry, but I’m not willing to accept an answer that is, essentially, “it depends on what the definition of ‘how’ is.”

    It doesn’t depend on the definition of how. That’s not even remotely what I said.

    It depends on the content of the question.

    Is the assertion is that there was an intelligent designer of the mechanism of genetic replication?

    You are asking me what you are talking about.

    And, of course, I don’t know the answer.

    If so, how is it alleged that he/she/it caused that design to be implemented? That’s the how that I think the intelligent design proponents fail to answer.

    Why don’t you start with the question they’re actually trying to answer?

    Or is this your way of trying to tell me that you don’t actually know what question they’re trying to answer?

    I can’t keep track of what you are talking about Saint Augustine. This is a subject I know something about so it might be a problem on your end. 

    • #71
  12. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    One of the things that troubles me about the intelligent design argument is that it doesn’t actually answer the questions it is invoked to address. Those questions are questions of “how?” How did the universe come into being? How did life begin? How did organisms reach their current state of diversity?

    What intelligent design tries to provide is a who.

    A who answer is an answer to a how question if the how question is about characteristics of design.

    I don’t think the who answers the how. I mean, I can look at DNA and see how it is and understand how it works, but that doesn’t tell me how whoever designed it, allegedly designed it, actually assembled the first thing. Did they use machinery? A laboratory? Did they manipulate the natural environment and, if so, how?

    If we’re talking about a god designing the universe, how did he do that? Does it all come down to “he willed it into being?” That’s the standard theistic explanation, but it doesn’t actually explain anything. It provides no mechanism, any more than saying it’s “a suspension of the laws of physics” is an explanation.

    I’m sorry, but I’m not willing to accept an answer that is, essentially, “it depends on what the definition of ‘how’ is.”

    . . .

    It depends on the content of the question.

    Is the assertion is that there was an intelligent designer of the mechanism of genetic replication?

    . . .

    If so, how is it alleged that he/she/it caused that design to be implemented? That’s the how that I think the intelligent design proponents fail to answer.

    Why don’t you start with the question they’re actually trying to answer?

    . . .

    I can’t keep track of what you are talking about Saint Augustine. This is a subject I know something about so it might be a problem on your end.

    It’s all in the quoted comments.

    • #72
  13. Henry Racette Moderator
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    SA, my point doesn’t seem particularly complicated or ambiguous to me. Let me state it slightly differently.

    I’ll speak of the origin of the genetic mechanism of protein encoding as a supposedly irreducibly complex feature of our universe that intelligent design enthusiasts cite as evidence of an intelligent designer. I don’t want to get bogged down in any particular MacGuffin; any other purported irreducibly complex feature will work as well.

    Saying that it is the product of an intelligent designer tells me whom you believe designed the feature. I can look at the feature expressed in nature and see what it is. But between conception (design) and implementation (what exists), something must have caused it to come into being. The act of conceiving of something, of figuring out what it should be, is not the same as the act of instantiating that thing.

    So how did the hypothetical designer create the first instance of the genetic mechanism of protein encoding? How did the hypothetical designer create the first self-replicating strand of DNA?

    Now who, not what, but how?

    I hope that question is clear. It seems clear to me.

    • #73
  14. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    SA, my point doesn’t seem particularly complicated or ambiguous to me. Let me state it slightly differently.

    I’ll speak of the origin of the genetic mechanism of protein encoding as a supposedly irreducibly complex feature of our universe that intelligent design enthusiasts cite as evidence of an intelligent designer. I don’t want to get bogged down in any particular MacGuffin; any other purported irreducibly complex feature will work as well.

    Saying that it is the product of an intelligent designer tells me whom you believe designed the feature. I can look at the feature expressed in nature and see what it is. But between conception (design) and implementation (what exists), something must have caused it to come into being. The act of conceiving of something, of figuring out what it should be, is not the same as the act of instantiating that thing.

    So how did the hypothetical designer create the first instance of the genetic mechanism of protein encoding? How did the hypothetical designer create the first self-replicating strand of DNA?

    Now who, not what, but how?

    I hope that question is clear. It seems clear to me.

    It was always clear. I understood you just fine. But you don’t understand me.

    Focus on what I actually say.

    Exactly what question do you think these intelligent design people are trying to answer?

    • #74
  15. Henry Racette Moderator
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    SA, my point doesn’t seem particularly complicated or ambiguous to me. Let me state it slightly differently.

    I’ll speak of the origin of the genetic mechanism of protein encoding as a supposedly irreducibly complex feature of our universe that intelligent design enthusiasts cite as evidence of an intelligent designer. I don’t want to get bogged down in any particular MacGuffin; any other purported irreducibly complex feature will work as well.

    Saying that it is the product of an intelligent designer tells me whom you believe designed the feature. I can look at the feature expressed in nature and see what it is. But between conception (design) and implementation (what exists), something must have caused it to come into being. The act of conceiving of something, of figuring out what it should be, is not the same as the act of instantiating that thing.

    So how did the hypothetical designer create the first instance of the genetic mechanism of protein encoding? How did the hypothetical designer create the first self-replicating strand of DNA?

    Now who, not what, but how?

    I hope that question is clear. It seems clear to me.

    It was always clear. I understood you just fine. But you don’t understand me.

    Focus on what I actually say.

    Exactly what question do you think these intelligent design people are trying to answer?

    I don’t think they’re trying to answer a question. I think they’re trying to use the language, but not the standards, of science in an effort to prove a preconception: that a god exists.

    What I think they are doing is claiming that the most plausible explanation for how the genetic mechanism came into being is that an intelligent designer created it. But that doesn’t actually answer the how question.

    You apparently believe something different, so tell me what question you think they are trying to answer.

    • #75
  16. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    The act of conceiving of something, of figuring out what it should be, is not the same as the act of instantiating that thing.

    Not for me. Not for you. Why not for G-d?

    • #76
  17. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    SA, my point doesn’t seem particularly complicated or ambiguous to me. Let me state it slightly differently.

    I’ll speak of the origin of the genetic mechanism of protein encoding as a supposedly irreducibly complex feature of our universe that intelligent design enthusiasts cite as evidence of an intelligent designer. I don’t want to get bogged down in any particular MacGuffin; any other purported irreducibly complex feature will work as well.

    Saying that it is the product of an intelligent designer tells me whom you believe designed the feature. I can look at the feature expressed in nature and see what it is. But between conception (design) and implementation (what exists), something must have caused it to come into being. The act of conceiving of something, of figuring out what it should be, is not the same as the act of instantiating that thing.

    So how did the hypothetical designer create the first instance of the genetic mechanism of protein encoding? How did the hypothetical designer create the first self-replicating strand of DNA?

    Now who, not what, but how?

    I hope that question is clear. It seems clear to me.

    It was always clear. I understood you just fine. But you don’t understand me.

    Focus on what I actually say.

    Exactly what question do you think these intelligent design people are trying to answer?

    I don’t think they’re trying to answer a question.

    Then you understand basically nothing about the view you so confidently critique.

    You apparently believe something different, so tell me what question you think they are trying to answer.

    “Hey, how’d this thing that looks like it was designed get to be here?”

    “Hey, how did all this information get here? Where’d it come from?”

    “Hey, how can a system this complex come into being but not come into being gradually?”

    • #77
  18. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    “Hey, how’d this thing that looks like it was designed get to be here?”

    “Hey, how did all this information get here? Where’d it come from?”

    “Hey, how can a system this complex come into being but not come into being gradually?”

    What is intelligent design’s ideas behind how Shub-Niggurath (god) created the world then? What’s the how?

    • #78
  19. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    “Hey, how’d this thing that looks like it was designed get to be here?”

    “Hey, how did all this information get here? Where’d it come from?”

    “Hey, how can a system this complex come into being but not come into being gradually?”

    What is intelligent design’s ideas behind how Shub-Niggurath (god) created the world then? What’s the how?

    The point is that that’s a different question.

    And not a bad question.

    But who on earth ever said it was?

    And who ever said a good theory can’t point us to another question?  I would think they’re supposed to.  (Perhaps that’s some influence of Thomas Kuhn on me.)

    • #79
  20. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    What is intelligent design’s ideas behind how Shub-Niggurath (god) created the world then? What’s the how?

    Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn!

    • #80
  21. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    “Hey, how’d this thing that looks like it was designed get to be here?”

    “Hey, how did all this information get here? Where’d it come from?”

    “Hey, how can a system this complex come into being but not come into being gradually?”

    What is intelligent design’s ideas behind how Shub-Niggurath (god) created the world then? What’s the how?

    The point is that that’s a different question.

    And not a bad question.

    But who on earth ever said it was?

    And who ever said a good theory can’t point us to another question? I would think they’re supposed to. (Perhaps that’s some influence of Thomas Kuhn on me.)

    I doubt that anyone cares who Thomas Kuhn is. Citations work for scientific and historical research but not so much for philosophy.

    • #81
  22. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    And who ever said a good theory can’t point us to another question? I would think they’re supposed to. (Perhaps that’s some influence of Thomas Kuhn on me.)

    I doubt that anyone cares who Thomas Kuhn is. Citations work for scientific and historical research but not so much for philosophy.

    Cleverest remark I got is:

    Kuhn is awesome.

    Kuhn and Popper are both awesome.

    Philosophy is awesome.

    So there.

    • #82
  23. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    “Hey, how’d this thing that looks like it was designed get to be here?”

    “Hey, how did all this information get here? Where’d it come from?”

    “Hey, how can a system this complex come into being but not come into being gradually?”

    A hypothesis in science has to be testable and falsifiable. “God did it!” is neither.

    • #83
  24. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Cleverest remark I got is:

    Kuhn is awesome.

    Kuhn and Popper are both awesome.

    Philosophy is awesome.

    So there.

    If these were true, we would all enjoy your contributions to this thread instead of suspecting you’re being a philosophical troll.

    • #84
  25. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Cleverest remark I got is:

    Kuhn is awesome.

    Kuhn and Popper are both awesome.

    Philosophy is awesome.

    So there.

    If these were true, we would all enjoy your contributions to this thread instead of suspecting you’re being a philosophical troll.

    Philosophical Troll was an epic prog rock band though. 

    • #85
  26. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Arahant (View Comment):

    suspecting you’re being a philosophical troll.


    • #86
  27. Henry Racette Moderator
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    SA, my point doesn’t seem particularly complicated or ambiguous to me. Let me state it slightly differently.

    I’ll speak of the origin of the genetic mechanism of protein encoding as a supposedly irreducibly complex feature of our universe that intelligent design enthusiasts cite as evidence of an intelligent designer. I don’t want to get bogged down in any particular MacGuffin; any other purported irreducibly complex feature will work as well.

    Saying that it is the product of an intelligent designer tells me whom you believe designed the feature. I can look at the feature expressed in nature and see what it is. But between conception (design) and implementation (what exists), something must have caused it to come into being. The act of conceiving of something, of figuring out what it should be, is not the same as the act of instantiating that thing.

    So how did the hypothetical designer create the first instance of the genetic mechanism of protein encoding? How did the hypothetical designer create the first self-replicating strand of DNA?

    Now who, not what, but how?

    I hope that question is clear. It seems clear to me.

    It was always clear. I understood you just fine. But you don’t understand me.

    Focus on what I actually say.

    Exactly what question do you think these intelligent design people are trying to answer?

    I don’t think they’re trying to answer a question.

    Then you understand basically nothing about the view you so confidently critique.

    You and I have different ideas about this topic, and may not communicate as brilliantly as either of us would like. But I’m not going to call you an idiot, and I’ll expect the same courtesy from you.

    You apparently believe something different, so tell me what question you think they are trying to answer.

    “Hey, how’d this thing that looks like it was designed get to be here?”

    “Hey, how did all this information get here? Where’d it come from?”

    “Hey, how can a system this complex come into being but not come into being gradually?”

    Okay, those are all “how” questions. My argument has been that the claim that there must be an intelligent designer does not answer “how” questions. Yet you are saying that those are precisely the kinds of questions the intelligent design enthusiasts are attempting to answer.

    When will we get an explanation of how God created DNA? I know what DNA is, so I know what the design for DNA (if there was one) must have been (assuming that DNA as instantiated matches the design). But how did that instantiation take place? How did it, as you said, “get to be here?”

    And how does postulating that God did it get us closer to answering that question?

    • #87
  28. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    “Hey, how’d this thing that looks like it was designed get to be here?”

    “Hey, how did all this information get here? Where’d it come from?”

    “Hey, how can a system this complex come into being but not come into being gradually?”

    A hypothesis in science has to be testable and falsifiable. “God did it!” is neither.

    Which, of course, changes the subject from what was my actual point.

    But must it be testable?  Of course.

    And must if be falsifiable? Sure, why not?

    (Popper is awesome, but he is plainly wrong about something–but it’s something else. If I ever have time to put it all together, I can’t promise anything about what it’ll look like.)

    • #88
  29. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Cleverest remark I got is:

    Kuhn is awesome.

    Kuhn and Popper are both awesome.

    Philosophy is awesome.

    So there.

    If these were true, we would all enjoy your contributions to this thread instead of suspecting you’re being a philosophical troll.

    They are all true, and I wouldn’t even know how to be a philosophical troll.

    Seriously, now: Was that just a joke?

    • #89
  30. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    . . .

    So how did the hypothetical designer create the first instance of the genetic mechanism of protein encoding? How did the hypothetical designer create the first self-replicating strand of DNA?

    Now who, not what, but how?

    I hope that question is clear. It seems clear to me.

    It was always clear. I understood you just fine. But you don’t understand me.

    Focus on what I actually say.

    Exactly what question do you think these intelligent design people are trying to answer?

    I don’t think they’re trying to answer a question.

    Then you understand basically nothing about the view you so confidently critique.

    You and I have different ideas about this topic, and may not communicate as brilliantly as either of us would like. But I’m not going to call you an idiot, and I’ll expect the same courtesy from you.

    I didn’t call you an idiot; you’re obviously not.  I only said what I said:

    If you really think the intelligent design folks are not even trying to answer a question, then you don’t understand them at all.

    You apparently believe something different, so tell me what question you think they are trying to answer.

    “Hey, how’d this thing that looks like it was designed get to be here?”

    “Hey, how did all this information get here? Where’d it come from?”

    “Hey, how can a system this complex come into being but not come into being gradually?”

    Okay, those are all “how” questions. My argument has been that the claim that there must be an intelligent designer does not answer “how” questions. Yet you are saying that those are precisely the kinds of questions the intelligent design enthusiasts are attempting to answer.

    Yes. Those are how questions.  Those are the how questions the intelligent design folks are trying to answer, and they do answer them.

    You apparently think they should be answering different how questions. I don’t have any particular problem with that, although I also don’t understand why you think that.

    But my actual point is only that the intelligent design folks are answering the questions they actually ask.

    • #90
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