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Is Id Science?


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Dan P and I started talking about ID (Intelligent Design) in the Farms Review 18/2 thread - as he mentioned it is a topic in the upcoming FARMS Review 18/2 - and I thought Id start a new thread on the subject to continue the conversation further...

To continue where we left off in the other thread:

Would you agree with my statement earlier concerning the anti-evolution arguments taking up the vast majority of IDs public visage?

Yes. And thats something of a distortion of the fundamental ID argument, as I understand it.

I guess then the question is, is this a result of the media only concentrating on the anti-evolution arguments proposed by ID, or is it the main argument that ID offers - period?

I must say, Im not aware of any attempt at a scientific theory from the ID position that isnt based on attempting to disprove evolution (Concepts like irreducable complexity come to mind here...)

Do they have any other scientific strings to their bow...? Thats not some kind of leading question - Im honestly interested in knowing if there are other arguments, because I dont think Im aware of them if they do exist...

Science limits its investigation to observable, emperical, measurable evidence. Im not sure that means the same thing as assuming naturalism.

It doesnt. Or, anyway, it shouldnt. A scientist who insisted on trying to find a naturalistic explanation for the sculptures on Mount Rushmore, and who brushed aside all suggestions that they were created by an intelligent agent, would simply be mad. And his purported explanations would be no more empirical, and would no more rest on observable and measurable evidence, than those offered by people who acknowledged that the sculptures had been created by Gutzon Borglum.

Mainly agreed on all of the above, apart from your comment about dismissing intelligent agents on the grounds of naturalistic explinations. Im trying to understand why you stated the opinion earlier that: I dont buy the notion that science must unavoidably assume naturalism.

A naturalistic explination for the sculptures on Mount Rushmore is that humans made them. I dont see any contridiction...

It assumes naturalism for practical purposes, but thats different to making the claim the naturalistic world is all that exists. Im not sure if this is what you mean when you say science must unavoidably assume naturalism. So Ill wait for you to clarify before I comment further...

I have no quarrel at all with a methodological preference for naturalistic explanations.

Hmm. Well, Id state it more strongly than that. If science (for practical purposes) assumes materialism, then any explination it comes up with must be based in materialism.

...but if God DID create the Earth and populate it with life, then that would be a naturalistic event, that could (at least potentially) be rationally inspected scientifically (Using the already established scientific methodologies...)

Would it not?

But, sometimes, intelligent agents must be invoked if the explanation is to be accurate. Signal is distinguished from background noise because it manifests signs of purposive intelligence. This is essential, for example, in the SETI project (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) so beloved of Carl Sagan. If any and all apparent patterns were dismissed as the result of pure chance, it would be impossible in principle to distinguish signal from background, and SETI, cryptography, the study of ancient scripts, etc., would all be problematized.

I completely agree. The search for alien life is a good example. We dont know exactly what aliens will be like, or even if they really exist (yet). But we can still search for them .via naturalistic means. Science doesnt make any super-natural assumptions in its search for aliens - its all based on materialism.

...I guess the conclusion Im trying to drive at is that proposing a non-human intelligence doesnt equal super-naturalism.

If God has (and indeed does) exert his influence into the material world, then can that not be inspected using naturalistic methodologies?

I dont say that intelligent agency must be invoked in cosmology, the origins of life, etc. Perhaps the evidence doesnt, or wont ultimately, support such an assumption. (Thats a separate question.) But it seems to me obvious that to rule intelligent agency out as a matter of principle no matter what the evidence might seem to suggest is dogmatic ideology, not science. (It surely doesnt flow from any scientific experiment or express any physical law.)

Again, I agree. I wouldnt discount ID as science on the principle that it mentions an un-named, un-specified Intelligent Designer. I would dismiss ID as science, however, if it doesnt manage to propose a scientific theory that matches the already established scientific method...

Incidently, wasnt the point of specifying an Intelligent Designer - rather than just saying God - to bring the creation concept within the naturalistic realm?

I think it was done mostly to avoid the theological baggage carried by the term God.

Yeah. That makes sense...

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Although I basically believe in Intelligent Design, I just cant find anything in it that makes it science.

Indeed. I believe the same... Its got very little to do with whether its possible or not. Its about how science actually works.

Dan P eluded to the idea that science should not limit itself to assuming naturalism (for practical purposes). The only thing is, Im not positive that many IDers themselves would agree with this idea. Im sure many of them would like to bring ID into the scientific realm on sciences own terms. Not start messing with the system just so that it can be slotted in...

I find evolutionary theory completely adequate to explain the natural world. I just think its sad that so many people feel that evolution is contrary to spiritual truth. I find it completely compatible.

I guess it would depend on what the individual sees as the spiritual truths that must be made to co-exist...

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I didnt read the thread so Im not sure where Dan was coming from on this. Evolutionary theory ONLY claims to deal with the natural world, so I cant see why it would try to do anything else.

I believe he meant it more in terms of attempting to view ID as legitamte science, rather than nessesarily attempting to redefine what the ToE can and cannot explain. (Although, as you seem to view ID as effectively an extra detail on top of the ToE, perhaps its natural that you would view it as trying to extend the ToE beyond reasonable bounds... Im not sure if more mainstream IDers would see it that way though...)

Basically, I thought he was saying that if science does not consider the possibility of ID as science, that it is unnessesarily limiting itself against certain possibilities. But I have two main objections to this idea:

* Asking science to go beyond materialistic investigation is like asking Mormons to stop going on about modern-day prophets! One of the most fundemental properites of science is that it limits itself to materialistic investigation. If you start messing with that, I dont see why it is science anymore...

* None of the arguments he was putting foward to me (explaining the sculptures on Mount Rushmore, attempting to find alien life etc.) - as far as I can see - require science to look past naturalistic investigation. Naturalistic investigation can attempt to solve both these problems quite admirably...

...hopefully he will pop by soon and continue the discussion. I was finding it interesting, but I didnt want to derail the other thread... (its called Farms Review 18/2 if you want to have a quick browse of it...)

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I don't care whether one calls ID science or not. I just want to know if it's a valid argument. I think ID is a misapplication of Fisher's Method in statistics and draws improper conclusions from that even if those conclusions are likely to be true.

I believe archaeology is inherently different from ID as applied to biology. We happen to know that designers existed in more or less the right time and place for that. I'm still not sure about the case of SETI. How exactly we'd tell an intelligent signal from one that is only odd seems difficult. Even snowflakes have patterns. A narrowband signal seems as good a candidate as any, but having that arise naturally is not inconcevable.

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Do you follow "engineering process" or "scientific method?"

That's the wrong question.

Re-read what I wrote - I'm sure you'll figure out what I'm getting at.

Have a nice day.

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The main argument I hear against ID is that it isn't science because it presupposes a design/designer for certain things. (Oversimplification, of course.)

Well, engineering - an accepted science - presupposes a design/designer in practically everything.

Following the initial argument, engineering is not a science, and is therefore false. (Regardless of how repeatable its results are.)

ID may be wrong. But I'd like to hear some actual *arguments*. (Note - I don't care to hear them here. So save your keystrokes.)

On a sidenote, years ago, I read a book - the title of which eludes me, but it was a 600-800 page monster - in whic there was a discussion of how archaeologists viewed certain 'evidences', such as knapped flint arrowheads. (Or other stone - it really has been years.) In the book, it had pictures of various types of rocks. It would show a rock that had been determined by archaeologists to be 'designed' - manmade, and then opposite a picture of another, similar, rock that was 'natural' (various reasons given). I couldn't see a difference between the two stones, other than they were clearly two different stones. None at all. Granted, the book may have taken things out of context. As I recall, though, the only response to the book was that the group who published it were laughingstocks because they didn't believe in evolution. Nobody bothered to actually review the book itself.

I'm sure there's a point there, although it may be even more obscure than the fairly obvious one I made earlier. Oh well.

I'm done with the thread.

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I don't think "Intellegent Design", as EV's would like to envision it, is science. However, i theorectical physics the study of "string theory" or "M-theory" is beginning to enter the realm of religion, IMO.


If Intellegent Design was to be stated from an M-Theory point of view, where, at a point before the "BigBang", the only thing that existed was "strings" of vibrating energy. But now, let's say that these evergy particles (I will now call "Intellegences") had the ability to independently choose to change their rate of vibration. And by doing so they found that they could work with other Intellenges in synergy and thus increase their Glory. Glory being power and knowlege. Now, let's say these "Intellenges" discouvered that by working together in syngery they could change the harmonics of the group and thus where able to precipatate the Big Bang.

This might be an ID that science might by be able to accept as a theory, But Christian EV's would not accept that type of ID theory.

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The main argument I hear against ID is that it isn't science because it presupposes a design/designer for certain things. (Oversimplification, of course.)

Well, engineering - an accepted science - presupposes a design/designer in practically everything.

Okay, I see what you are saying now. The fact that I don't consider ID science doesn't mean that I consider it wrong. I believe in evolution and I believe in God as creator. I just don't believe in teaching God as creator in science class. I guess I don't really agree with your engineering analogy. Engineering presupposes a human designer for manmade structures. I think the sciences do a pretty good job of explaining how the natural world works using solid scientific theories. God is just something that can't (and shouldn't) be proven in a laboratory.

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The main argument I hear against ID is that it isnt science because it presupposes a design/designer for certain things. (Oversimplification, of course.)

Anybody that classifies the ID argument as non-science over this single objection only is wrong to do so imo

Well, engineering - an accepted science - presupposes a design/designer in practically everything.

Engineering does not equal science, nor is it a science. There is certainly a lot of overlap between the two disciplines, but engineering is more the practical application of scientific knowledge. Its closely related to science, but should not be confused with it:

Theodore von Karman : Scientists study the world as it is; engineers create the world that has never been.

Following the initial argument, engineering is not a science, and is therefore false. (Regardless of how repeatable its results are.)

An incorrect statement, on two counts:

1. In no way does the initial argument attempt to show that engineering isnt science. The fact that engineering is not really a science, but more the practical application of scientific knowledge is not even touched on the initial argument.

2. Just because an idea can be determined to be non-scientific, does not make it false!

ID may be wrong. But Id like to hear some actual *arguments*. (Note - I dont care to hear them here. So save your keystrokes.)

I - for one - have never tried to argue that ID is surely wrong. All I am arguing here is that ID is not science.

if you disagree, please share any ID theories you know of that:

a. Follow the established scientific method.

b. Arent just discussions of / critisisms of / attacks on already existing and established scientific theories.

Im done with the thread.

Fair enough.

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Okay, I see what you are saying now. The fact that I don't consider ID science doesn't mean that I consider it wrong. I believe in evolution and I believe in God as creator. I just don't believe in teaching God as creator in science class. I guess I don't really agree with your engineering analogy. Engineering presupposes a human designer for manmade structures. I think the sciences do a pretty good job of explaining how the natural world works using solid scientific theories. God is just something that can't (and shouldn't) be proven in a laboratory.

What about panspermia? That's IDish, but it is more careful to avoid any mention of the source for "new programs" that are periodically introduced over the millenia. ID doesn't mention God, either, though. It merely mentions "intelligent design" and avoids discussion of who are what that is. Could be an alien, technically. Also, Darwinism as an explanation for the origin of species doesn't follow the scientific method. Science can be interpetation of evidence, when experiments can't be performed. It can also involve competing theories, where the one that explains more (predicts more, more accurately) is the winner, as Meyer says (Meyer has a PhD in the philosophy of science).

Meyer versus Peter Ward. Darwinism versus Intelligent Design Debate:


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Intelligent design anything but scientific

Dave Mosher

Issue date: 9/29/05 Section: Science

On Monday Laurie Goodstein of The New York Times reported that 11 parents from Dover, Penn. are suing their school board for allowing intelligent design into the ninth grade biology curriculum. Intelligent design (ID) is an argument that says life is too "irreducibly complex" to have arisen from natural processes and can only have been created with the assistance of a higher being a.k.a. God. Conversely, evolutionary theory argues that life as we know it arose from a series of genetic changes resultant of natural selective forces.

Supporters argue that intelligent design deserves to be taught in a high school from the standpoint of academic freedom - that students have a right to hear competing theories for life origins. But in a public high school, students don't really have a say in their education and often don't know any better. It is mandatory for students to attend class and be tested on what their instructors are teaching them.

To provide a point of contrast, universities are businesses in the academia and students are customers with choices. If a biology professor decides it is best to teach intelligent design as a scientific theory and rail evolution, students can drop the course and file a complaint that has repercussions. The result of this accountability is that instructors teach the most viable and current theory for life origins: the theory of evolution.

So when the minds of the youth are at stake in the form of school curriculum, confrontations like the one surrounding Dover arise between K-12 educators, parents, and school officials. The great hubbub about an argument like intelligent design is that it is touted as scientific theory when in fact there is very little science about it. This forms the basis for confrontation - does an argument that is essentially religious in nature belong in a science classroom?

Many intelligent design proponents like to describe evolution as "just" a theory. The problem with this logic is that the scientific sense of the word is misconstrued. In science, a theory is a repeatedly tested hypothesis or idea that is strongly supported by evidence. Examples: atomic theory. Wave theory. Relativity. And so on. Moreover, theories are falsifiable; if there is proficient evidence challenging the theory, new ones are drafted that incorporate all pre-existing evidence.

In the case of evolution, more than 130 years of evidence supporting it has been compiled. Intelligent design, on the contrary, has essentially no evidence that is peer-reviewed, or tested in a forum of expert scientists. Intelligent design is a strategic movement founded by Phillip E. Johnson to alter public policy, education, and opinion to favor conservative viewpoints. To refine my previous question: does a religious argument and political strategy belong in a public school science classroom?

Letters to me may overload OSU servers for printing this, but I believe the answer is invariably "no." If an argument is not scientific, it does not belong in a science classroom. Intelligent design belongs in a theology course or a science issues course, but it does not belong in a course dedicated to teaching hard science.

So until a falsifiable scientific theory with irrefutable evidence is formed by its advocates, intelligent design will remain what it has been from the beginning: nothing scientific.

Dave Mosher is a senior in Biology and Journalism at OSU. He may be reached for comment at mosher.46@osu.edu.

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Well folks, I presume the argument is over Richard Sherlock's piece on ID in the Farms Review.

I just read it this morning. He starts out by saying that naturalism is the wrong word. As you say, God can design something (or Man) and that would be natural too. Instead, he opposes the insistence on materialism, which he defines as a philosophy requiring that everything must be real in the visible world. Plainly, we as LDS believe that there is more to reality than that. (The spiritual side, etc...)

So far, I agree with Sherlock completely.

However, he lost me with his defense of Intelligent Design.

I think that I am close to Katherine's position. In the sense that I believe that God shaped the universe, and shaped the laws that make it up, I believe that Intelligent Design is on the right path. However, when we start arguing about Irreducible Complexity or Mutation Rates, or any such thing, I think that ID as a concept breaks down. Because we can always find something that proves the supposedly irreducibly complex item (the human eye, biological cell cascades, whatever) can actually be reduced again...

All of this Sherlock argues for.

He also wants us to include God in our study of the sciences. Great. But he does not attempt to explain how we should go about this. (I read avidly, but he never went past the pleading...)

So I guess that I am still an Evolutionist while also believing in a God who intervenes on a daily basis in the world. Sherlock asserts that such a position is contradictory. He thereby agrees with some non-believers on this board who recently accused me of cognitive dissonance.

I beg to differ. Sherlock's error lies in his (apparent) assumption of a Clockwork Universe, whereby God sets things ticking and then never touches it again, as it unwinds. This was a common belief among scientists after Newton. But the advent of quantum theory blew that all up. Based only on what happened in the past, you cannot necessarily predict how the future will turn out. I believe that this leaves God plenty of room to intervene whenever He wants, without having to alter physical laws.

On why I think the non-believers are wrong (in accusing me of cognitive dissonance), see my thread on the Anthropomorphic God, from about five weeks ago...


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Im not as think as you dumb I am' date=' it seems:[/i']

I take it that was a typo, or a joke <_<

Your certainly more intelligent than you sounded there...

The real meat of this article (for me at least) seems to begin on page 7, where cosmological constants are discussed. Hardly new stuff, but still interesting. He is right to say that we shouldnt quickly reach for anthropic explinations too cheaply, especially in the face of such low probabilities. And I agree.

But he does not mention the various evidences we currently have that points us towards multiple universes, nor does he re-examine the anthopic principle in this context.

...the reason being that - apprently - the idea of multiple universes has been refuted!!

...oh really?! Well, I think Sherlock really is out on a very thin limb here. I doubt youll find many scientists that have dismissed multiple universes so glibly. And I doubt that any of them will be aware that the entire conept has been refuted!

I can see what the problem is though. Sherlock is only refering to one multi-universe theory: the idea of an infinite number of big-bang expansions and contractions. I will agree this has been put into serious doubt, since the latest data would seem to suggest that our universe is destined to continue expanding forever, with no final big crunch.

So sherlock only mentions this one multi-verse possibility and hence the whole issue moot?

Why only dismiss the one multi-verse theory that we didnt actually have any direct evidence for (only a hunch based on the idea of multipl expansions and crunches) when we actually do have evidence - due to both General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics - for universes that exist across dimensions?

Sherlock goes on to say:

The question is why would one want to multiply entities for which we have absolutely no evidence?

He then goes on to state - fairly glibbly - that the only possible reason to bang on about multiple universes is to irrationally cling to materialism.

I can only conclude that Sherlock is totally oblivious to the evidence for the multi-verse that has nothing at all to do with some infinite regression of big bangs and big-crunches.

...and even on that front' date=' there are smaller big-crunches happenning all over the universe as we speak. They are called black holes!

In short, Sherlock is quite incorrect when he says that the idea of multiple universes is unevidenced. And therefore, his conclusion that the idea is only desperation is unfounded. Dimensional multi-universes have been talked about a heck of a lot since Einstein, and in no way have these conversations been used in the context of providing some desperate explination of anthropic problems! They came about from direct inspection of the ramifications of General Relativity, not having anything to do with the origins of life at all.

Sherlock again talks about the anthropic principle as an ID defense later, this time eluding to abio-genesis. Again, he does not mention any current possibilties, or even estimates, on how many planets in the known universe may contain the nessesary set-ups for abiogenesis to occour within estimated probability ratios.

Not to say that abiogenesis is as well evidenced as evolution. I dont beleive it is, and substantially so. But in Sherlocks words:

as well as problems relating to the origin of life on earth for which no sufficient materialist explanation exists

...well, its very easy to make the above claim when you havent even tried to describe any of them :P

I also agree with his later point that just because a known scientific theory has excepted flaws, this doesnt automatically make it non-science. The only requirement there is that you are attempting to either refine or rewrite the theory to try and resolve these flaws.

...just so its clear, I agree with both Sherlock and Dan P on at least one point. The issue of whether ID is actually science or not wasnt determined by a judge in Dover...

Sherlock then goes on to talk about Abduction. An interesting term to be sure - Im more used to hearing about scentific philosophers banging heads using terms like Induction and Falsification. But, it was all seemed fairly correct non-the-less.

Im not sure what the eventual point is though. When examining ID and comparing it to the scientific method:

The scientific method involves the following basic facets:

Observation. A constant feature of scientific inquiry.

Description. Information must be reliable' date=' i.e., replicable (repeatable) as well as valid (relevant to the inquiry).

[b']Prediction. Information must be valid for observations past, present, and future of given phenomena, i.e., purported one shot phenomena do not give rise to the capability to predict, nor to the ability to repeat an experiment.

Control. Actively and fairly sampling the range of possible occurrences, whenever possible and proper, as opposed to the passive acceptance of opportunistic data, is the best way to control or counterbalance the risk of empirical bias.

Falsifiability, or the elimination of plausible alternatives. This is a gradual process that requires repeated experiments by multiple researchers who must be able to replicate results in order to corroborate them. This requirement, one of the most frequently contended, leads to the following: All hypotheses and theories are in principle subject to disproof. Thus, there is a point at which there might be a consensus about a particular hypothesis or theory, yet it must in principle remain tentative. As a body of knowledge grows and a particular hypothesis or theory repeatedly brings predictable results, confidence in the hypothesis or theory increases.

Causal explanation. Many scientists and theorists on scientific method argue that concepts of causality are not obligatory to science, but are in fact well-defined only under particular, admittedly widespread conditions. Under these conditions the following requirements are generally regarded as important to scientific understanding:

Identification of causes. Identification of the causes of a particular phenomenon to the best achievable extent.

Covariation of events. The hypothesized causes must correlate with observed effects.

Time-order relationship. The hypothesized causes must precede the observed effects in time.

...I would be far more worried about Prediction and Falsability. But of course, since Sherlock has already dismissed evidence of the multiverse, it can see why the it just makes sense - at least to me argument would seem valid. Or at least the best avenue to take...

As far as including God in science, then if he is refering to the Mormon concept of God, then please - I welcome Mormon scientists to quantify their God in scientific terms. Remember the established scientific method above:

Observation. Can we observe God?

Description. Is evidence of said God reliable and replicable?

Prediction. Any evidence of God that can be consistenly reproduced? The power of prayer seems unsatisfactory hit and miss - for example...

Control. God in a controlled enviroment?

Falsability. Id hope that Mormon scientists would put appropiate efforts to attempting to prove that their God doesnt exist. Id be intested in knowing how they are planning to go about that too...

Causal explanation. Time to crack open the scriptures as Exhibit A!

Section V is where we really get to examining the specific point of whether ID is truly science or not. Unfortnately, things really start going off the rails here:

First, Sherlock states:

To be successful' date=' this critique [of the sufficiency of materialist explinations'] must show that in at least one area materialist explinations fail to adequately account for some phenomena or set of related phenomena. If this is the case in one area of our expertise, then metaphysical materialism fails as a sort of article of faith or worldview that automatically excludes divine design as an explination in other areas

Metaphysical materialism fails? Huh? So anything I dont understand yet, I just hold up my index finger whilst slapping my forehead with my other hand, exclaim Of course - goddidit and all my questions go away?

All it proves is that there are gaps of knowledge, that we attempt to fill not with assumptions, but more knowledge. Of course, the advantage of thiestic belief is that there is an infinitely sized one-size-fits-all concept that you can just plaster over any intellectual problem for a nice, clean finish!

Just because its convinient, doesnt mean its appropiate, nor accurate.

Im not saying that metaphysical materialism is - without a shadow of a doubt - true. Im saying that to say the idea fails because you cant understand how something works yet, is ludicrous.

It gets worse!

Futhermore' date=' if we can show by rigorous study and analysis that it fails in one area, then even methodological materialism, the idea that science can only deal with material casuality, also fails[/i']

I simply cant see how he is making such leaps. It isnt methodological materialism that says that science must only deal with material casuality. It is science that says that it will only deal with material casuality! It has been that way since its (modern) birth 400-odd years ago and it hasnt changed since! So why the change now?

Sherlocks further musings on why he finds metaphysical materialism lacking is totally irrelavent. It doesnt matter one jot whether metaphysical materialism is in fact true or not. It is what science - perfectly sensibly and legimately - chooses for its practical processes. It has proved to be a remarkably efficient and productive methodology, and Id love to hear people deny that. (And any irrlevant sidetracking onto moral issues will be noted as such).

In short, Id like a better reason to fix something that isnt broken than Science doesnt currently encompass a pet philosophy Im fond of!

In fact, I really wonder why people such as Sherlock or Dan P are even bothered at all about whether ID is science or not! If science has such a fundemental flaw, why bother trying to claim that ID should be science at all? Why not instead say Science - as it currently stands - is fundementally flawed, therefore it does not matter one jot whether ID is considered to be science or not.

Is it because science is taken seriously by so much of the planets population? Is it because its conclusions are taken so seriously? And if so, why is this? Is it because the conclusions of science are observable? Are reproducable?

And why are they observable and reproducable? Is it because it limits itself to metaphysical materialism?!

This is the ultimate irony in all this. Some want science to change so that it incompasses the super-natural and hence ID. And yet doing so would probably destory the very properties that give science its crudentials. Its reason to be taken seriously.

If science is fundementally flawed, you have two choices:

1. Try and change science to your idea of what it should be


2. Just put foward the opinion that science is fundementally flawed, and either utilise an already existing metholodology that you think is superior, or make up a new one!

Why such empahasis on only the former option?! You already have religion as a methodology that can handle super-natural investigaion. So - whats the problem? What - is religion not taken that seriously or something?

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ROP, this is a really interesting thread. There have already been some great contributions, and I hope I can add to them.

In what I read, the proponents of teaching ID and creation in schools are actually the biggest hurdle to having it taught in public schools. In Edwards v. Aguillard, the Supreme Court looked at a Louisiana statute that required teachers to teach creation if they taught evolution. What did they call the statute? "Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science in Public School Instruction Act". The short name was The Creationism Act. You have to read the full case to get that, it's not on Wiki.

The statute required that if a teacher taught evolution, he/she was also required to teach creation. The stated purpose of the Act was to protect academic freedom. The Court saw a problem because teachers were forced to teach creation if they taught evolution, but not evolution if they taught creation. It was only one way, which meant there was no actual academic freedom.

There are many who believe in creation according to the KJV Bible, and would like to see that taught in schools. I also believe in the KJV Bible creation story. However, we cannot ignore that the KJV is an obviously Christian version. The Establishment Clause of the US Constitution says that the government cannot endorse nor inhibit any religion. By teaching creation according to the KJV Bible, the schools (with government $ - meaning endorsement) were endorsing Christianity. If an Act is going to be held constitutional, it has to have a secular purpose. (See Lemon Test.)There was no secular purpose in the Creationism Act.

Though this case does not address ID, it lays the background for looking at ID in schools. One of the big ones on ID is Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. In this case, the FTE tried to get a book entitled Of Pandas and People into schools. The problem was that the book referred to a designer that was omniscient and sounded very much like the God of the KJV Bible. The court agreed with Kitzmiller, that ID is a form of creationism, and cannot be taught because it violates the Establishment Clause.

Kitzmiller and ID are still a hot topic, and we still don't know where everything is going to end up. There is criticism, but so far it's held up. Like school prayer, which kept coming back under different names, I expect creation to come back into schools over the next few years under a variety of different names.

These cases say nothing about teaching creation or ID or even Native American Indian creation stories. You can teach them at home and at church, and even in private schools.

Remember, I'm not saying that it's wrong to believe in ID or creation, I'm just saying so far courts are not allowing them to be taught in schools because they endorse Christianity with government money and the US Constitution does not allow that.


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There have already been some great contributions, and I hope I can add to them.

You certainly did.

Whats striking is the two ways that the issue if ID can be approached from - the philosophical, and the legal.

Im mostly interested in the philosophical arguments, but the legal arguments also seem to get very involved. More involved than I realised...

Hmm - the quote function works in this post. Im not sure whats up in my last one... :/

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