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
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)
web site: http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/seg/habitat.shtml
Posting to firstname.lastname@example.org from "John J. Kineman" <email@example.com>
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jun 08 2000 - 23:37:53 BST