Re: [pcp-discuss:] Fwd: "Intelligent Design" lobby Congress

From: John J. Kineman (jjk@NGDC.NOAA.GOV)
Date: Thu Jun 08 2000 - 23:33:55 BST

  • Next message: Norman K. McPhail: "Re: [pcp-discuss:] Fwd: "Intelligent Design" lobby Congress"

    On Intelligent Design:

    I previously made two points about ID, one supporting some of its concepts,
    the other agreeing that it should not be tied to political ends. I now want
    to continue that thought to an ethical opinion.

    First let me point out that the Darwinian paradigm, which is fully
    scientific, has itself been mis-used in politics, business, social models,
    and elsewhere, often to the detriment and denigration of many people's
    human values. It was taken as an absolute - a "nothing butism," which was a
    serious mistake. Political (including school politics) and religious views
    (in which category I include atheism) have been used to promote Darwinism
    as a political and social model, and vice versa. Congress has been well
    versed (and lobbied) on Darwinian models for all kinds of misapplication.
    The fact that Darwinian mechanism is scientific (without most people also
    realizing that means incomplete) has made it even more mis-usable for
    various ends.

    So, here's my point: Should we (PCP and other scientists) resort to
    scientific politics to discourage investigation of a completely valid
    paradigm of creatuve/intelligent nature simply because we fear its misuse
    by religious and political groups??? Should scientists in general also be
    condoned for doing the opposite, promoting scientific models that are known
    to be limited views of reality, in social and political systems? Is it not
    perhaps best to let scientists debate science, and let politicians debate
    politics; or for each to at least wear the proper hat when changing
    occupations? The alternative is to become scientific autocrats, which is
    no better than having political autocrats; tacitly or actively promoting
    social use of "established" views, while discouraging legitimate
    investigation of new ideas that counter the status-quo.

    The real issue involves the underlying world view. Science takes place
    within a world view and cannot comment on its validity, except for its
    value in developing useful explanatory and predictive models. A theological
    world view precludes models by summing all processes to God. It is not
    science because it precludes models (by design). The basic concept of
    intelligence and information in nature comes about from the scientific need
    that other approaches cannot meet. It is only its religious/theological use
    that is not science.

    Here are two URL's for the Intelligent Design discussion, one against, the
    other for. In the first paper, opposing ID, I find some good science, a
    number of fallacious arguments, non-sequiturs, seemingly purposeful
    mis-interpretations, old-guard defensiveness, etc.. In the second, favoring
    it, I find a scientific intuition (intelligence in nature as a world view),
    but also a religious interpretation of that idea that seems self-serving.
    Perhaps the religiously motivated folks would be less successful if the
    scientists would flesh out the ideas better rather than putting them off as
    irrelevant when they are obviously not. (
        Intelligent Design: Humans, Cockroaches, and the Laws of Physics
        Copyright 1997 by Victor J. Stenger
        Preprint of a paper submitted to Creation/Evolution.
        Do not reprint without permission from the author.
         The Intelligent Design Movement
         William A. Dembski
         Reprinted from Cosmic Pursuit, Spring 1998

    The main point I want to make about this is that a religion can be made out
    of anything and Congress can be lobbied on any issue. But we cannot control
    the outcome of a complex social process
    John J. Kineman, Physical Scientist/Ecologist
    National Geophysical Data Center
    325 Broadway E/GC1 (Rm 1B158)
    Boulder, Colorado 80303 USA
    (303) 497-6900 (phone)
    (303) 497-6513 (fax) (email)
    web site:

    Posting to from "John J. Kineman" <>

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