Thursday, March 10, 2011

Intelligent Design Creationism is not religious


Sometimes it's a good idea to let the other side have a say. It can be very revealing. This is from The Epistemological Deficiencies of Barbara Forrest. It's written by DonaldM.
Denyse O’Leary writes about Barbara Forrest’s fact-free attack on Frank Beckwith, which recently appeared in Synthese. While Denyse focused more on Beckwith’s response to Forrest’s scholarly article diatribe, it might be worth taking a closer look not only at Forrest’s article, but the entire issue of Synthese in which it is found. First Forrest. In the abstract for her article with the breathtaking title “The non-epistemology of intelligent design: its implications for public policy”, Bar writes:
Intelligent design creationism (ID) is a religious belief requiring a supernatural creator’s interventions in the natural order. ID thus brings with it, as does supernatural theism by its nature, intractable epistemological difficulties.
Okay, so we’re only 2 sentences into the abstract and we can already see that Bar has no clue what ID is about. I don’t know what ID books or articles she’s actually read, but claiming that ID is a “religious belief requiring a supernatural creator’s intervention” demonstrates how little she understands ID. Perhaps Bar could enlighten us as to what religion ID adheres. Since ID advocates come from a broad range of faith traditions as well as no faith tradition at all, it would seem a bit problematic for her to identify exactly which religion we’re talking about here. Further, I know of no ID advocate that makes the claim that ID “requires” a “supernatural” creator. While ID may be compatible with certain theistic beliefs, it by no means requires it. If Forrest has done even a cursory review of any ID literature she’d know that. (Actually, I suspect she does know that, but because she has a clear agenda, she fudges on the truth.)

Whenever I see the phrase “Intelligent Design creationism”, red flags go up all over the place. This traces back to Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics, a ponderous tome from 2001 edited by Robert Pennock, and in which Forrest herself had a chapter. The clever illusion of the title is to give the appearance of an unbreakable link between Intelligent Design and Creationism, no doubt because the term “creationism” carries with it the allusions to young earth creationism and all that goes with that. To Pennock and Forrest et.al., Intelligent Design is just a modifier for Creationism. But any informed reader already knows something is amiss when we see that phrase.
So now you know. The intelligent designer doesn't have to be God. It could be the Wizard of Oz or aliens from Betelgeuse.

And intelligent design does not require a creator so it isn't a form of creationism. The universe could have sprung into existence spontaneously and the intelligent designer only started meddling when life got interesting. And his meddling didn't involve any "creation," just a little tweaking here and there.

In case anyone's really interested in Barbara Forrest's expertise you can read the transcript of her testimony in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District [Trial transcript: Day 6 (October 5), AM Session, Part 2]. You'll find an interesting explanation of why she knows that Intelligent Design Creationism is about God and why it's a form of creationism.

The fun part of her testimony is when she shows that the word "creation" was replaced by "design" in the drafts of Of Pandas and People. This was in the 1980s. Maybe that's before DonaldM was born?

The surprise is not that the IDiots have dug themselves into a hole. We all know that. The real surprise is that they keep digging and digging.


47 comments :

  1. Very open-minded of you, Prof. Moran. By the way, Fred Hoyle accepted ID.

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  2. Of course, the defense in the Dover trial moved heaven and earth to keep Prof. Forrest off the witness stand, considering her their most dangerous opponent. And with good reason. Their entire cross examination was for the purpose of trying impress the judge about her atheist views. Not only was the judge totally unimpressed by their cross examination tactics, he found her to be the most persuasive witness that the plaintiffs called.

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  3. Bilbo says,

    Very open-minded of you ...

    This has nothing to do with my open-mindedness.

    Intelligent Design Creationism is about God as the intelligent designer. It's silly to pretend otherwise.

    It's also a form of creationism as Barbara Forrest convincingly shows in her testimony.

    These are just plain facts.

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  4. As the saying goes, let's be open minded, but not so open minded our brains fall out.

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  5. Re Bilbo

    Prof. Hoyle also denied the big bang theory long after the rest of the astrophysical community had accepted it. In addition to which, astrophysicist Hoyle was totally unqualified to pontificate on the subject. His 747 in a junkyard argument is total rubbish and showed a remarkable ignorance of the theory of evolution.

    Incidentally, here's another example of the logical fallacy of an argument from authority, which authority is rather less then authoritative.

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  6. Bayesian Bouffant, FCDFriday, March 11, 2011 2:35:00 AM

    ... he found her to be the most persuasive witness that the plaintiffs called.

    Although Michael Behe did a pretty good job of convincing him of the shortcomings of Intelligent Design as well.

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  7. I'd be willing to grant the notion that our biosphere-- if not the universe as a whole-- were, in fact, intelligently designed (despite much evidence to the contrary). I'd even grant that a deity that many might perceive as (a) God was responsible, but let's grant for the moment that IDiots sincerely believe that their movement, philosophy, whatever, is areligious. Pray tell then (pun intended), what evidence would suffice to support such a claim?

    I, for one, would be mightily convinced if it could be shown that Psalms is written in the sequences that comprise the "junk" DNA of the human genome (although I'd be even more convinced if Psalms mentioned anything about thermodynamics, genetics, quantum effects, or even of the germ theory of disease). Instead, all we get are arguments from incredulity, specified/irreducible complexity and the like that are not affirmative arguments at all, merely naysaying the overwhelmingly abundant evidence that from (star) dust we came, to (star) dust we shall return.

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  8. Perhaps Bar could enlighten us as to what religion ID adheres. Since ID advocates come from a broad range of faith traditions as well as no faith tradition at all, it would seem a bit problematic for her to identify exactly which religion we’re talking about here.

    "I don't believe in the God of the bible, but someone created this world."

    Not only can you not tie the above statement to any specific religion, it actually rejects one in particular. This means that the statement is entirely devoid of religion, at least by DonaldM's logic that is.

    Further, I know of no ID advocate that makes the claim that ID “requires” a “supernatural” creator.

    Not claiming that ID requires a supernatural creator doesn't eliminate the fact that it is a logical necessity of the "theory". A small example: we've never observed any intelligent agent lacking "CSI". But since CSI can only be created via intelligence, logically there must exist just such an agent so that the first CSI can then be created. In other words, at the very least it requires positing the existence of a being that is fundamentally different from anything that we've ever actually observed.

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  9. By the way, Fred Hoyle accepted ID.

    He "accepted" the steady state universe as well.

    How's that working out for him?

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  10. "Fred Hoyle accepted ID."

    This is about as relevant as the fact that Isaac Newton accepted, and pursued, astrology and alchemy.

    So what?

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  11. Obviously most people today who accept intelligent design in the United States are Christians, and have a very specific opinion about who the Designer is.

    However, virtually all people in human history have believed in intelligent design in one form or another. That includes pagan Greeks, Romans, Chinese, Africans, as well as Jews, Muslims, etc. Atheists are a fringe, and mostly of recent vintage.

    The issue in Dover was Constitutional: does teaching the inference to intelligent design consititue an Establishment of Religion, i.e. a national church. It obviously does not.

    Intelligent design is a viewpoint held by most people. Most people believe in God or in gods, but intelligent design is not itself a religious belief.

    It is the opinion that intelligent agency is discernable in nature. The anti-ID view is that intelligent agency is not discernable in nature.

    Both are scientific viewpoints, and neither is intrinsically religous.

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  12. Intelligent design is a viewpoint held by most people. Most people believe in God or in gods, but intelligent design is not itself a religious belief.

    In the 14th century it was the opinion of most people that the earth was flat and the sun moved around it.

    It was also common opinion that if you gathered together in large groups in churches, prayed to an invisible sky fairy, and killed cats, witches and jews you could avoid the black death.

    These of course were not religious beliefs.

    It is my opinion that intelligent falling is a valid scientific viewpoint and if you were to walk out of a 10th story window you could easily demonstrate that the anti intelligent falling viewpoint (i.e. Newton's law of universal gravitation and Einstein's theories of special and general relativity) do not provide sufficient explantory power for the attraction that masses have for each other and some sort of intelligent falling agency must be postutated.

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  13. Oh, Fred Hoyle accepted ID did he? Wow, then OBVIOUSLY ID is correct, I mean Fred Hoyle, an astonomer, wow! The same Fred Hoyle that tried and failed miserably to claim, for some reason, that one of the 8 known Archaeopteryx fossils was a fake (it wasn't), wow, how can he possibly be wrong about anything???

    Thanks for providing that appeal to false authority fallacy that you apparently find so convincing, Bilbo...

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  14. That intelligent design is rational doesn't make it scientific. For ID to be scientific it must make testable predictions (not retrodictions). There must be experimental evidence in its favor, i.e. creation and testing of hypotheses as well as peer review of the evidence.

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  15. You're all missing the point. Fred Hoyle was an atheist (a pretty smart one, at that). And he accepted ID. In fact, he probably coined the term. So there was at least one person who believed in ID who did not think the designer was God. Ergo, Prof. Moran is incorrect when he says that ID is about God. And if he and others wish to call Hoyle and "IDiot" that is their business.

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    1. Evolutionary theory and the ID viewpoint are NOT alternative arguments. As i sit here now i have just come up with an alternative to mathematics (which i fundamentally dispute the facts of). I will call it "Intelligent Numbers Fun". All content and theories will be provided hereafter. I now demand that it be provided equal time and balance - as it is superior to mathematics.

      What a crock. Get you're country together America. The world needs you less insane.

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  16. Re Anonymous

    Intelligent design is a viewpoint held by most people. Most people believe in God or in gods, but intelligent design is not itself a religious belief.

    It is the opinion that intelligent agency is discernable in nature. The anti-ID view is that intelligent agency is not discernable in nature.

    Both are scientific viewpoints, and neither is intrinsically religous.

    No, intelligent design is not a scientific principal; it his been falsified on innumerable occasions in the history of science. Just to repeat the story of Newton and the stability of the solar system, he opined that the occasional intercession of god was required to maintain that stability over long periods of time. Some 100 years later, Laplace used perturbation theory theory to show that, in fact, the solar system is stable over long periods of time. When asked by Napoleon what role god might play, Laplace famously replied that he had no need of that hypothesis.

    The fact is that intelligent design can't be science because it is unbounded and unfalsifiable as the supposed designer can do anything.

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  17. Bilbo, because one guy (Fred Hoyle) was an atheist and may have coined the term ID means that Dr. Moran is incorrect that ID is religion?
    Have you ever read the rantings of the Moonie Jonathan Wells?
    Have you ever read the "wedge strategy" of the DI?
    Have you ever read the writings of Behe?
    Are you aware that almost all of the DI presentations are in evangelical Christian churches?

    Are you serious?

    That's why we call you IDiots.

    Dr. Moran is spot on.

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  18. Intelligent Design Creationism, ie. the concept put forward and held by the Discovery Institute and friends, is religious.

    Intelligent Design, ie. as a pure concept which states that life was "designed" (and that's it, no frills), is not religious.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm an ID critic (just check out my blog) and it's pseudoscientific whether it's religious or not, but this distinction is something I'm adamant about promoting.

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  19. waldteufel:

    "Bilbo, because one guy (Fred Hoyle) was an atheist and may have coined the term ID means that Dr. Moran is incorrect that ID is religion?"

    Yes.

    "Have you ever read the rantings of the Moonie Jonathan Wells?"

    Some of them.

    "Have you ever read the "wedge strategy" of the DI?"

    Some of it.

    "Have you ever read the writings of Behe?"

    Yes.

    "Are you aware that almost all of the DI presentations are in evangelical Christian churches?"

    I wasn't, but I'm willing to believe you.

    "Are you serious?"

    Yes.

    "That's why we call you IDiots."

    Oh. That's what I call a non sequitur.

    "Dr. Moran is spot on."

    Prof. Moran is mistaken.

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  20. Naon:

    "Intelligent Design Creationism, ie. the concept put forward and held by the Discovery Institute and friends, is religious."

    I think it would be more accurate to say that most of the people in the DI believe that God is the designer, and that their motives are largely religious and political. I could be mistaken, but I don't think they ever officially claim that ID proves that God is the designer.

    "Intelligent Design, ie. as a pure concept which states that life was "designed" (and that's it, no frills), is not religious."

    Agreed.

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  21. bilbo - are you the notorious sock puppet also known as Wally and Tom?

    If you are, please know that no one in the entire universe gives a flying fig about your opinion.

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  22. Gingerbaker said...
    "bilbo - are you the notorious sock puppet also known as Wally and Tom?"

    No.

    "If you are, please know that no one in the entire universe gives a flying fig about your opinion."

    Since I'm not Wally and Tom, does that mean that someone in the entire universe does give a flying fig about my opinion? I assume your answer would be no. But at least one person in the entire universe gives a flying fig about my opinion: I do. :)

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  23. It is the opinion that intelligent agency is discernable in nature. The anti-ID view is that intelligent agency is not discernable in nature.

    Both are scientific viewpoints, and neither is intrinsically religious.

    Intelligent Design, ie. as a pure concept which states that life was "designed" (and that's it, no frills), is not religious.

    We need a better class of armchair philosopher, I think.

    Unless "intelligent design" amounts to no more than a trivial change in venue (life evolved elsewhere and eventually became intelligent and technologically powerful enough to design life on Earth), then intelligent design requires an intelligent, powerful designer to arise with no living antecedent. There is no way to account for such an occurrence using scientific principles. Something literally "supernatural," i.e., religious, is necessary.

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  24. I'm trying to figure out if ID is a sub category of Creationism or vice versa. I know that ID came out of Creationism, but which is the more abstract and broader category?

    I think many people have it around the wrong way. Any comments?

    I'm not a fan of ID though. They are too 'on the fence' about who the designer(s) might be. I know that isn't a scientific question, but if one is seeking the truth, why limit oneself to only what can be examined within science?

    I like to see people being honest with their beliefs, even if that brings ridicule. Increasingly organisations such as Creation Ministries are enabling Christians to show that their faith has reasonable grounds, and that it is the evolutionists who have the non-rigorous science. Creation by God is reasonable.

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  25. "I know that ID came out of Creationism, but which is the more abstract and broader category?"

    The issue is one of a *supernatural* creator, and has to be. It is undeniably scientifically *possible* that the world was built by Magratheans and stocked by Preservers or whatever. We could be living on an artificial planet and be genetically engineered by advanced aliens. Or the planet could have been seeded by them.

    Is that true? I doubt it. Is it possible? Yes. Is it a scientific theory? Yes, and we can get to its truth by scientific methods.

    Intelligent Design, as advocated by the ID movement is -as the Dover ruling states categorically- not 'advanced aliens might be involved'. It's very specifically a *supernatural* creator.

    God. The textbook definition of God, the 'uncaused cause' who lives outside the universe and created the universe.

    There may be supernatural stuff (spoilers: there isn't), whether the supernatural exists or not (it's 'not', for fuck's sake, it's a completely meaningless term). If the supernatural exists (it doesn't), then, by definition, it's not science. It's the opposite of science. Which may be worth studying (if you're a stupid twat) but not in science class.

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  26. Jud:

    "Unless "intelligent design" amounts to no more than a trivial change in venue (life evolved elsewhere and eventually became intelligent and technologically powerful enough to design life on Earth), then intelligent design requires an intelligent, powerful designer to arise with no living antecedent. There is no way to account for such an occurrence using scientific principles. Something literally "supernatural," i.e., religious, is necessary."

    What ID says is that there is evidence that certain features of the kind of life that exists on this planet were designed. Assuming ID is true, the correct answer to who the designer is may be no more than a trivial change in venue (which seemed to be Hoyle's view). Or the correct answer may be something supernatural (which is what most ID proponents believe).

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  27. Ross:

    "I'm trying to figure out if ID is a sub category of Creationism or vice versa. I know that ID came out of Creationism, but which is the more abstract and broader category?"

    I suggest that ID is the broader category, and that Creationism (design by a supernatural being) is a subcategory.

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  28. Anon: "Intelligent Design, as advocated by the ID movement is -as the Dover ruling states categorically- not 'advanced aliens might be involved'. It's very specifically a *supernatural* creator."

    I believe that Judge Jones decided that natural designers, such as aliens, were implausible, and therefore ID could only be about the supernatural. He might be correct about the plausibility of aliens, but that doesn't mean ID is necessarily only about supernatural designers.

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  29. Bilbo writes:

    Assuming ID is true, the correct answer to who the designer is may be no more than a trivial change in venue (which seemed to be Hoyle's view).

    Yes, now think of the necessary implications.

    If the answer is indeed a "trivial change in venue," and not a supernatural entity, that means evolution takes place, and took place wherever the designer(s) originated.

    If the answer is "a supernatural entity," then ID is not a scientific theory, since it must rely on entities/forces for which there is no scientific backing (because if there were scientific backing, the entities/forces could be described as "natural").

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  30. What ID says is that there is evidence that certain features of the kind of life that exists on this planet were designed. Assuming ID is true, the correct answer to who the designer is may be no more than a trivial change in venue (which seemed to be Hoyle's view). Or the correct answer may be something supernatural (which is what most ID proponents believe).

    Perhaps BOTH are correct.

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  31. Jud: "If the answer is "a supernatural entity," then ID is not a scientific theory, since it must rely on entities/forces for which there is no scientific backing (because if there were scientific backing, the entities/forces could be described as "natural")."

    Mike Gene would agree with you. He and I have argued about this ad nauseam, and I don't want to start arguing about it again. I'll just say that even if it isn't science, it seems to me that it's possible to have reasonable evidence for it.

    Anon: "Perhaps BOTH are correct."

    Perhaps. Or perhaps both are incorrect.

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  32. Well Bilbo,

    one very central claims of ID is that natural processes are insufficient to produce and evolve life. So the designer by definition has to have supernatural powers. Since we don't know of any physical entity with such powers gods are the only candidates left.

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  33. Mike Gene would agree with you. He and I have argued about this ad nauseam, and I don't want to start arguing about it again. I'll just say that even if it isn't science, it seems to me that it's possible to have reasonable evidence for it.

    I certainly don't want to nauseate you. ;-) And I imagine it's quite likely we'd disagree. Still, I'm quite curious how one can have reasonably convincing evidence of something supernatural, and I'd love to know what your thinking is on this.

    If you don't wish to say, I'll understand. However, if you'd be comfortable with simply agreeing to disagree, without having to get into any sort of drawn-out discussion about it, then I'll be happy to go first with my view:

    If I (and preferably other witnesses, to reduce the possibility of hallucination) saw something that there was good reason to believe was non-illusory, and could not be accounted for by current science here on Earth or any extension thereof, then I'd simply think there were things in nature we didn't yet know about, not at all a surprising result.

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  34. Anon 2: "one very central claims of ID is that natural processes are insufficient to produce and evolve life."

    Say rather, "insufficient to produce life as we know it." (And there is a broad spectrum among ID proponents on how much of evolution was done by strictly natural processes. Mike Gene, for example, thinks that after the origin of life, strictly natural processes can account for evolution. Behe thinks natural processes can account for at least speciation, and perhaps a couple of taxonomic levels above that. And so it goes until you get to YECs on the other end.

    "So the designer by definition has to have supernatural powers. Since we don't know of any physical entity with such powers gods are the only candidates left."

    Wait. I don't believe that natural processes are sufficient to produce toaster ovens. Does that mean supernatural powers were needed?

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  35. Hi Jud,

    Don't worry, it wouldn't nauseate me. ;) But it would take us far away from the original topic.

    "If I (and preferably other witnesses, to reduce the possibility of hallucination) saw something that there was good reason to believe was non-illusory, and could not be accounted for by current science here on Earth or any extension thereof, then I'd simply think there were things in nature we didn't yet know about, not at all a surprising result."

    So what would make you think that something supernatural existed?

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  36. "Wait. I don't believe that natural processes are sufficient to produce toaster ovens. Does that mean supernatural powers were needed?"

    Apart from the fact that natural processes are sufficient to produce toaster ovens, yes if you don't believe that than that would imply that supernatural powers were needed.

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  37. Anon: "Apart from the fact that natural processes are sufficient to produce toaster ovens, yes if you don't believe that than that would imply that supernatural powers were needed."

    In this context, "natural" has two meanings. First, it can mean "non-supernatural." Second, it can mean "non-intelligent." I would argue that toaster ovens required an intelligent cause instead of a non-intelligent cause. But that intelligence was natural, not supernatural.

    Likewise, it seems possible that life as we know it was designed by an intelligent but natural cause, such as space aliens or time travellers.

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  38. Bilbo asks:

    So what would make you think that something supernatural existed?

    I do have an answer, but I'm still awaiting a response to my previous inquiry to you along similar lines, if you'd be kind enough:

    I'm quite curious how one can have reasonably convincing evidence of something supernatural, and I'd love to know what your thinking is on this.

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  39. @ Bilbo

    I would not consider panspermia to be a religious idea. But this is not what the relevant ID proponents are arguing for. And the reduction to panspermia is the only way ID could be non-religious. And really you don't want to argue that all the fuss is about mentioning panspermia in biology classroom. You got to be kidding me.

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  40. Jud: "I'm quite curious how one can have reasonably convincing evidence of something supernatural, and I'd love to know what your thinking is on this."

    Briefly, in my case, it's a combination of philosophical reflection, authority, and personal experience.

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  41. Anon 2: "And really you don't want to argue that all the fuss is about mentioning panspermia in biology classroom. You got to be kidding me."

    I agree that the "fuss" is about a lot more than panspermia. Most of the people who want to get ID in biology classes are religiously motivated. My only point is that ID itself isn't (necessarily) religious.

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  42. Jud: I'm quite curious how one can have reasonably convincing evidence of something supernatural, and I'd love to know what your thinking is on this.

    Bilbo: Briefly, in my case, it's a combination of philosophical reflection, authority, and personal experience.

    So what would make you think that something supernatural existed?

    Thanks for your answer. As I'm sure you anticipated, my thinking differs somewhat. :-)

    Along the lines of the famous Richard Feynman quote ("The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool"), I would require a demonstration to multiple people, not just myself. I would also want some very good recording mechanisms, to reduce the possibility of simple expedients like magic tricks.

    With those prerequisites, I can think of a few things some entity might do to convince me and others that it had supernatural powers, which I'd define as feats not possible under fundamental physical principles of which we're reasonably sure. For example, the entity might vary the masses or charges of fundamental particles. Or it might instantly stop the rotation of the Earth for a period of time, then instantly restart it, while keeping all the objects on it from being thrown around by the sudden huge momentum changes, in violation of the laws of motion, a la Joshua 10:13. (Note Joshua 10:13 involved stopping the apparent motion of the moon as well. This would have seemed natural given the prevailing cosmology at the time Joshua was written, but as we now know stopping the apparent motion of the moon would have involved entirely separate physically impossible feats from stopping the apparent motion of the sun.)

    So far, nothing I can think of has qualified under these criteria as verifiably beyond natural laws, i.e., supernatural. There are many stories in various cultures about such things (Joshua 10:13 being one), but as the opportunities for observation and recording have gotten better, the frequency of such occurrences has correspondingly diminished.

    That last point is IMHO an extremely important one. Real phenomena, however mind-boggling, are demonstrated more often with greater opportunity for observation and recording. For example, Einstein's time dilation, an astounding concept if ever there was one, is verifiably demonstrated every single day now that GPS satellites correct for it and we see that GPS still works. Those of us old enough to remember TV reception through antennas all got to observe the heat signature of the Big Bang in the static on our sets when we turned to an unused channel.

    On the other hand, a characteristic of that which isn't real is that reported incidence diminishes as there is greater opportunity for observation and recording. Full scale walking talking visitations by ghosts, angels, or other venerated deceased (even wrestling, as with Jacob/Israel), reports of which were once commonplace, are now reduced to blurry images supposedly of Mary or Jesus burnt into tortillas. Photos of "UFOs," which were once ubiquitous, are rare unto vanishing in these days of improved video and photographic equipment. Thus, since there haven't been any recent recorded occurrences along the lines of Joshua 10:13, I'd personally evaluate that story as having the characteristics of legend, and would not consider it valid evidence of the supernatural.

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  43. That's quite a stringent test, Jud. But as you said before, this really wouldn't prove that there had been a supernatural event. It could be a natural event, and we just don't understand how, yet.

    It seems that your stuck with naturalism, which you might not mind at all. Perhaps someday you might become desperate enough to not worry about so much about being fooled, and more worried about knowing if there really is something beyond this universe.

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  44. Don't know whether anyone is still looking at this old thread, but Bilbo wrote something I thought worth commenting about:

    Perhaps someday you might become desperate enough to not worry about so much about being fooled, and more worried about knowing if there really is something beyond this universe.

    Don't be fooled by my quote of Feynman re fooling yourself. :-)

    Here's what that quote really means to me:

    I find this life and this universe endlessly fascinating and full of things to be discovered. When learning something new, as people do I will often form speculations about it. Checking whether those speculations are correct or whether I've "fooled myself" is the way for me to determine whether there are yet more exciting new things to learn about a particular topic. (Most often, of course, there are.)

    So it's not at all that I'm worried about fooling myself. Rather, when I realize I haven't quite got it nailed, the feeling is like reading a good book and knowing there's plenty more to go before you reach the end.

    Regarding being desperate to know if there really is something beyond this universe, I would be fascinated to know that. I do a great deal of reading on the subjects of cosmology and fundamental physics, and would be delighted if some of what is now theory or speculation could be proved true or untrue in my lifetime. But even what is within currently accepted scientific theory is far beyond my present level of knowledge, leaving so much more to learn. It's wonderful.

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  45. To me, the concept of Intelligent Design is an interesting hypothesis. Unfortunately, that's where it appears to remain. The next step, on it's journey to becoming a scientific theory, would be to provide evidence, run some experiemnts ... something, ummm ... scientific.

    I read an essay by William Dembski where he postulates the reaction of a group of aliens landing on earth to find Mount Rushmore, after all of humanity has gone extinct. He asserts that the aliens would conclude that the sculptures on Mount Rushmore were explicitly designed and not part of nature. It seems to be, though, if the ONLY evidence remaining of humanity was Mount Rushmore, then I'm not so sure the same conclusion would be reached.

    Perhaps the aliens were incoporeal and not able to affect the physical world around them. Would they still conclude the sculptures were designed? I'm not so sure. But, of course, all of this is simply speculation.

    From my limited understanding of what ID represents, it sounds like a start on it's way to a scientific theory, but it's got a LONG way to go ...

    BloodyNose

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    1. Said aliens would see mount Rushmore and suggest "God (or equivalent) did this". Then some of them would find human fossils. And they'd be up to about where we are now.

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