Friday, November 04, 2011

John Haught in Kitzmiller v Dover

John Haught has been in the blogosphere news recently because of his debate with Jerry Coyne. The discussion of that now-famous video is going to last for a few more days and many different issues will be brought up. One of them will be accommodationism and whether John Haught should be treated as one of the "good guys" or one or the "bad guys." I've heard prominent accomodationists complain about Coyne's "attack" on Haught on the grounds that we shouldn't be criticizing a prominent theologian who is allied with evolutionary biologists in the fight against creationism.

Haught testified for the Kitzmiller side in Kiztmiller v Dover (2005). Here's part of his testimony when being questioned by the attorney for the parents (Mr. Wilcox). [transcript: Haught testimony]
Q. Focusing on natural science, what is science?

A. Science is a mode of inquiry that looks to understand natural phenomena by looking for their natural causes, efficient and material causes. It does this by first gathering data observationally or empirically. Then it organizes this data into the form of hypotheses or theories. And then, thirdly, it continually tests the authenticity of these hypotheses and theories against new data that might come in and perhaps occasionally bring about the revision of the hypothesis or theory.

Q. You said that science seeks to understand the natural world through natural explanations. Is that important?

A. Yes, that's critical. The science, by definition, limits itself self-consciously, methodologically, to natural explanations. And that means that anything like a supernatural reality or transcendent reality, science is simply not wired to pick up any signals of it, and therefore any reference to the supernatural simply cannot be part of scientific discourse. And this is the way that science carries on to our present day.

....

Q. Does this make science at odds with religion?

A. By no means. Science and religion, as I've written in all of my books, are dealing with two completely different or distinct realms. They can be related, science and religion, but, first of all, they have to be distinguished. The medieval philosopher said, we distinguish in order to relate. And when we have a failure to distinguish science from religion, then confusion will follow.

So science deals with questions relating to natural causes, to efficient and material causes, if you want to use Aristotelian language. Religion and theology deal with questions about ultimate meaning and ultimate purpose. To put it very simply, science deals with causes, religion deals with meanings. Science asks "how" questions, religion asks "why" questions.

And it's because they're doing different things that they cannot logically stand in a competitive relationship with each other any more than, say, a baseball game or a baseball player or a good move in baseball can conflict with a good move in chess. They're different games, if you want to use that analogy, playing by different rules.

Q. You've used another analogy in discussions with me that might be illuminating. This is the boiling water analogy. Could you give us that?

A. Yes. I think most of the issues in science and religion discussions, most of the confusion that occurs happens because we fail to distinguish different levels of explanation. And so what I advocate is layered or -- layered explanation or explanatory pluralism, according to which almost every phenomenon in our experience can be explained at a plurality of levels.

And a simple example would be a teapot. Suppose a teapot is boiling on your stove and someone comes into the room and says, explain to me why that's boiling. Well, one explanation would be it's boiling because the water molecules are moving around excitedly and the liquid state is being transformed into gas.

But at the same time you could just as easily have answered that question by saying, it's boiling because my wife turned the gas on. Or you could also answer that same question by saying it's boiling because I want tea.

All three answers are right, but they don't conflict with each other because they're working at different levels. Science works at one level of investigation, religion at another. And it would be a mistake to say that the teapot is boiling because I turned the gas on rather than because the molecules are moving around. It would be a mistake to say the teapot is boiling because of molecular movement rather than because I want tea. No, you can have a plurality of levels of explanation. But the problems occur when one assumes that there's only one level.

And if I could apply this analogy to the present case, it seems to me that the intelligent design proponents are assuming that there's only one authoritative level of inquiry, namely the scientific, which is, of course, a very authoritative way of looking at things. And they're trying to ram their ultimate kind of explanation, intelligent design, into that level of explanation, which is culturally very authoritative today, namely the scientific.

And for that reason, science, scientists justifiably object because implicitly they're accepting what I'm calling this explanatory pluralism or layered explanation where you don't bring in "I want tea" while you're studying the molecular movement in the kettle. So it's a logical confusion that we have going here.
John Haught is a Roman Catholic theologian. The question I have is whether it is legitimate for scientists and philosophers on the side of evolution to challenge John Haught's interpretation of what science is. Or, should we not criticize him because was on the side of the "good guys" during the trial?

If the answer is "yes," it's legitimate, and if there really are different legitimate interpretations of what science is, then why didn't those alternate definitions of science come up at the trial? Why weren't there testimonies from scientists and philosophers who stated that, in their opinion, science can ask "why" questions?

Here (below) is part of the cross-examination by Mr. Thompson, attorney for the Dover Area School District. I need to say at the outset that I'm very uncomfortable with John Haught's use of "Darwinism" to describe modern evolutionary theory. And he should never have fallen into the trap of using "Darwinist" as a way of describing evolutionary biologists. That tells me that he doesn't understand evolution.

The testimony below shows Haught criticizing prominent evolutionary biologists such as Dawkins, Gould, Ridley, and Wilson. He also criticizes another philosopher, Daniel Dennett, for disagreeing with him about the compatibility of science and religion. This is perfectly in line with the accommodationist position.

Here's the question. Is it okay for those scientists and philosophers, and their supporters, to fight back (e.g. Jerry Coyne)? Or is it considered "bad form" to attempt to refute the arguments of one of the "good guys"?
Q. Let me read from your book Deeper Than Darwin, Page 115. Quote, If we could be assured that the idea of genes striving to survive was simply a convenient way of speaking and one not to be taken too literally, then we might have reason to be less concerned about this dramatic displacement. However, the new Darwinian projection of subjectivity into our genes is more than an innocent literary device, end quote. Is that what you wrote in your book?

A. Yes, but at that point I wasn't talking about Darwinism, I was talking about certain materialists' interpretations of Darwinism. The point of that whole book, just to put it in context, is to criticize not evolution and not neo-Darwinism, not Darwinism, but materialists' interpretations of Darwinism.

Q. Well, materialists are Darwinians. Right? They're a group of Darwinians?

A. But Darwinism in no way logically entails materialism. This is just by accident that some materialists are Darwinians and vice versa.

Q. In fact, you go to great lengths to take Darwinists to task because they are materialists, do you not?

A. Materialist Darwinists to task, not Darwinists.

Q. And some of the most prominent Darwinists are materialists. Correct?

A. That's true.

Q. Richard Dawkins being one of them?

A. Richard Dawkins.

Q. Do you know who Matt Ridley is?

A. Yes.

Q. And you wrote about him in your book Deeper Than Darwin?

A. Yes.

Q. Let me quote from your book, Page 116, and ask you if this is still a true statement. Quote, It is a mix of cooperation and competition among striving and achieving genes that, accordingly to Ridley, accounts for the evolutionary invention of gender-based behavior. Sex, he says, is the outcome of genes devising strategies to avoid their demise at the hand of parasites, end quote. Doesn't that sound like intelligence, as well?

A. Again, Ridley, especially, would want to make it clear that he is not taking the striving as something that's literal. However, I think there's a way in which Ridley has himself at times conflated Darwinian ideas with materialist ideas, and that's what I'm criticizing, not the Darwinism, but the materialist overtones or connotations of his modes of expression.

Q. Well, I understand you're taking not only intelligent design to task, but you're also taking a lot of Darwinians to task who have sort of gotten into the metaphysical world. Isn't that true?

A. Materialist.

Q. Materialist world?

A. Not Darwinians, but materialists.

Q. Okay. And in another section in your book, Page 3, and I'm quoting again, quote -- this is you writing again -- But enlightened evolutionists caution us that religion and art are merely heart-warming fiction. Our genes, they claim, have created adaptive but essentially deceptive brains and emotions that spin seductive spiritual visions in order to make us think we are loved and cared for. But, in fact, it is all illusion. Darwin has allowed us at last to naturalize religion completely. You wrote that. Correct?

A. I was talking about --

Q. End quote.

A. That's not my position. I'm describing the position of materialist Darwinians.

Q. Correct, yes. And so again we have this idea that these genes are somehow creating -- with their deceptive brains are creating spiritual visions?

A. What the materialist Darwinians have to do, since they deny the existence of God, is to come back to the only kind of explanation that's available to them, and that's a Darwinian explanation. So that's another example of what I call refusal to accept layered explanation.

They, like the intelligent design people, share in common the conviction that there's only one explanatory slot available. So if intelligent design doesn't fit it, then material processes do and vice versa. But I object to both approaches as not being layered in their understanding of things.

Q. So according to many prominent Darwinists, the philosophical message of Darwinism can't be disengaged from Darwin's science. Isn't that true?

A. That's exactly what Steven J. Gould said in several of his books.

Q. Okay. And he has made that statement, that one can't disengage Darwinism --

A. He hasn't put it in those explicit terms, but he as implied that Darwin comes along with a philosophical message of materialism. And that's why I object to Gould's whole approach, because he conflates science with ideology too much. Not always.

Q. So there is really a significant group of Darwinian scientists who are actually getting into the physical -- excuse me, the metaphysical world. Correct?

A. Yes, yes.

Q. And so --

A. Unconsciously most of the time, but they're doing it, yes.

Q. Yes. And so you would have the same kind of criticism of them as you would of your view of intelligent design, would you not?

A. Yes. As I expressed to Mr. Wilcox, I would not want a biology class to lead students toward a materialist's view of life, either.

Q. Well, according to Gould, the message of Darwinian science is that life has no purpose. Is that a scientific claim?

A. No. And I think if you ask Gould, he would have to admit that, also.

Q. Okay. Daniel Dennett, do you know who he is?

A. Yes.

Q. He's a philosopher. Is that right?

A. He's a philosopher at Tufts University.

Q. Right. And he claims that Darwin is incompatible with religious beliefs?

A. Yes. He's a philosopher, not a scientist. That's a philosophical belief.

Q. Well, what about E. O. Wilson, who is a biologist at Harvard, he puts Darwin's science in direct competition with religion, does he not?

A. Yes, because he is one of these people who unconsciously conflates his very good evolutionary science with a very suspect metaphysical belief system. Not always, but at times.


20 comments :

  1. I don't know much about this specific issue, but I'm not sure I see it in terms of "good guys" and "bad guys". It's about good and bad ideas - or at least what is good and bad about specific ideas. When someone advances some "mostly good" ideas (as Haught did in Dover), they've done something good. That doesn't make those ideas (or any other ideas that person advances) beyond criticism.

    Haught's non-overlapping magesteria approach is tolerable when we're working to get creationism out of the science classroom. That doesn't make it a good idea. But maybe it can be improved with a bit of testing and refinement in the marketplace of ideas.

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  2. Hodor, I'd like to know what magic of the marketplace of ideas can turn baloney into filet mignon.

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  3. As a UK citizen I still find it incredible that the teaching of evolution rather than ID in school should precipitate a court case in a supposedly advanced country like USA. Perhaps to demonstrate that there was a broad concensus in support of teaching evolution, it was important to make a temporary alliance with witnesses who hold the view (as many Christians in the UK do) that accepting the truth of evolution can be compatible with the Christian world view. But that doesn't mean that they are not mistaken. Outside the context of the court case it is right for scientists like Jerry Coyne to point out vigorously the weaknesses of Haught's arguments. After all, Russia was an ally to UK/USA in WW2but that didn't stop western opposition to communism and the cold war.

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  4. See Maarten Boudry's work for a philosophical counterpoint to Haught's claim that ignoring supernatural agency is necessary to the practice of science: interviewed here http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thinkatheist/2011/10/24/episode-31-dr-maarten-boudry-oct-23-2011 and his (surprisingly readable) doctoral thesis "Here be Dragons" is available here https://sites.google.com/site/maartenboudry/teksten-1 direct view https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=ZGVmYXVsdGRvbWFpbnxtYWFydGVuYm91ZHJ5fGd4OjY0ZDRlZmY2ODE2Y2RlODc&pli=1

    I believe it suffices to point out that if Haught's claim were true, then studies of the efficacy of prayer are not science. The studies are science, so the claim must be discarded.

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  5. Haught (along with other accommodationists) complain about gnu atheists having a "naive view of religion". They claim that if we had a properly sophisticated understanding of religion, we would have no problem with incompatibility of science and religion. It occurs to me that Haught has a naive view of science if he thinks that "atoms moving around fast" provides a scientific explanation of why the kettle is boiling, but "a person wants tea" does not (granting that the scientific explanation of wanting tea is considerably more complex, and mostly inaccessible at present).

    So:

    Unsophisticated theology and Unsophisticated Science: Incompatible

    Unsophisticated theology and Sophisticated Science: Incompatible

    Sophisticated theology and Sophisticated Science: Incompatible

    Sophisticated theology and Unsophisticated Science: Compatible

    I'm not a scientist or an educator, but I think that unsophisticated science is better than no science, if we are trying to take a pragmatic approach to getting (and keeping) science education in schools.

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  6. I'm not a scientist or an educator, but I think that unsophisticated science is better than no science, if we are trying to take a pragmatic approach to getting (and keeping) science education in schools.That's not "pragmatic". It's cowardly. Science is a method, not just a rag-bag of facts. Teaching "unsophisticated science" isn't teaching science at all.

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  7. Our view is that anti-science folks, and that's what magical thinking involves, are much more clever at marketing and with rhetorical tricks.

    For example, there is no such thing as "science" -- unless you want to create a straw man and frame your opponent as ideology or a belief system.

    Factually there is no way to talk about evidence-based or so called "science" without talking about specific studies, data and claims.

    We can say there is a methodology that generally follows similar principals, although these are always changing. This is called the scientific method -- again, somewhat of a straw man but better than "science" as ideology/belief system.

    Finally, the US is a very, very young country. It is deeply anti-intellectual, it is also deeply religious and ideological. There is no tradition of learning and honoring the educated and scientists.

    The US is usually anti-science/evidence-based knowledge. Pro-gadgets and technology but anti-data. Mainly because data and evidence always challenge power and ideology big no-no in US.

    Yes, America is the richest country in the world and history of the world but money can't buy cultural acceptance of true knowledge. It can make ideological battles very valuable.

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  8. "very suspect belief system"? From a Catholic no less!

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  9. Haught is simply wrong about religion and science being non-overlapping magisteria.
    The only religion for which this is true is deism.
    All other religions make claims about the natural and, as such, they are the provence of science.
    It's as simple as that.

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  10. Obviously it's too simplistic to simply judge people as "good guys" and "bad guys". People can be right and wrong on different subjects and to varying degrees. I think it's quite reasonable, though, to say that Haught is lousy at philosophy. Having him on the pro-science side at Dover is embarrassing for those who want to promote good rational thinking, and not just defend the teaching of evolution.

    Certain people in the blogosphere have recently cited Dover as an example of the practical success of philosophy. Well, bad philosophy can contribute to a desirable outcome. The judge was misled into accepting erroneous philosophical claims that happened to work in favour of the pro-science side. But I wouldn't hail that as a success for philosophy.

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  11. Haught loves his tea pot analogy when trying to push his plurality of levels of understanding.

    However, he neglects to give evidence for his plurality of levels whereas there is evidence for every level in his analogy. To wit: there is evidence for molecules of water moving rapidly. There is evidence for a heat source. There is evidence for the person who heated the water. There is evidence of tea leaves/bags. There is evidence for desire on the part of the person to make the tea. In short, EVERY level in Haught's analogy has evidence to support it.

    However, in contrast, Haught provides no evidence for his metaphysical plurality of levels ending with the "ultimate" reality of his god.
    His argument accordingly fails. Until such time as he can provide evidence for his levels, which by the way, he attributes to an historical approach but never tells us whether or not he actually holds to this perspective, he looses his argument.

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  12. Dr. Moran writes:

    The question I have is whether it is legitimate for scientists and philosophers on the side of evolution to challenge John Haught's interpretation of what science is.

    Of course.

    If the answer is "yes," it's legitimate, and if there really are different legitimate interpretations of what science is, then why didn't those alternate definitions of science come up at the trial?

    Why didn't you devote your biochemistry textbook to exploring this question? Perhaps because that wasn't your purpose in writing a biochemistry textbook? It wasn't the purpose of the Kitzmiller litigants to explore all the alternative definitions of science that might be of interest to you, or to me, or to other people.

    The Kitzmiller trial was held in order to determine answers to specific legal questions. Among them was whether a purpose of caveats to evolutionary theory which the school board was trying to require science teachers to present to their classes, and use of the proposed text "Of Pandas and People," were a prohibited "establishment of religion" within the meaning of the First Amendment to the US Constitution. A subsidiary question in this determination was whether the purpose of teaching ID was simply a scientific one, without a significant religious component. Answering this question does involve inquiring into what "science" is, though it is not the sole relevant factor.

    How best to persuade the judge on the overarching question of whether the school board had violated the Establishment Clause was up to the litigants and their attorneys. They evidently made the decision that a deep, time-consuming exploration of many alternative definitions of science would not be as persuasive as a more narrowly tailored inquiry. On the question of how best to persuade the judge, the attorneys for the plaintiffs (the 'Kitzmiller' side, for which Haught testified) apparently did extremely well, if the result of the trial was any indication.

    In any case, I don't think we needed the Kitzmiller trial in order to engage in a thorough public discussion of what science is and what sorts of questions are open to scientific inquiry. We have blogs!

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  13. Jud says,

    It wasn't the purpose of the Kitzmiller litigants to explore all the alternative definitions of science that might be of interest to you, or to me, or to other people.

    That's correct but it's just another way of saying that "truth" wasn't one of the goals.

    How best to persuade the judge on the overarching question of whether the school board had violated the Establishment Clause was up to the litigants and their attorneys. They evidently made the decision that a deep, time-consuming exploration of many alternative definitions of science would not be as persuasive as a more narrowly tailored inquiry. On the question of how best to persuade the judge, the attorneys for the plaintiffs (the 'Kitzmiller' side, for which Haught testified) apparently did extremely well, if the result of the trial was any indication.

    Thank-you for agreeing with me. It's quite clear that the plaintiffs were very selective in their choice of "scholars." They wanted to convince the judge that science is perfectly compatible with religion—it's only some kinds of religious beliefs that aren't science.

    Apparently it's okay to believe in miracles like the virgin birth and the resurection but it's not okay to believe in miracles like the creation of the bacterial flagella.

    We all know that the "good guys" employed some legal trickery in order to bolster their case. I'd be content with this if the accommodationists openly admitted that they pulled the wool over the eyes of Judge Jones and got him to agree with their definition of science.

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  14. Dr. Moran writes:

    That's correct but it's just another way of saying that "truth" wasn't one of the goals.

    A very specific kind of truth was the goal: the correct resolution of the legal issues upon which the trial was held. If you are looking for resolution of debates about the nature of 'science' or other wide-ranging questions, a legal trial isn't the proper vehicle. No one should expect it to be. A trial resolves the litigants' specific issues on the bases of factual evidence relevant to the matters at hand and the applicable law.

    Thank-you for agreeing with me.

    Yes, I do. But just as you might generally agree with something I as a layperson say with regard to biochemistry, evolution, etc., but want to give a more scientifically precise answer, permit me to generally agree with what you as a layperson say about the trial, but give a more legally precise answer.

    It's quite clear that the plaintiffs were very selective in their choice of "scholars."

    Absolutely. Not to have been extremely selective in order to give their clients the best chance of winning at trial would have smacked of malpractice.

    They wanted to convince the judge that science is perfectly compatible with religion—it's only some kinds of religious beliefs that aren't science.

    The plaintiffs' strategy was not to convince the judge of anything at all regarding the compatibility of science and religion - it was to remove that issue as completely as possible from the trial, thus depriving defendants of its use, either to make legal headway or simply as a distraction.

    Recall my previous comment, where I noted the definition of science, or the compatibility of science and religion, was just one factor bearing on a subsidiary issue. By using experts who felt religion and science were compatible, the plaintiffs kept defendants from focusing on a subsidiary issue and thus taking valuable time and attention away from their case regarding the main issue.

    Plaintiffs were thus able to keep the trial focused on specific factual evidence devastating to defendants' case (e.g., that a school board member's father collected funds at his church to buy "Of Pandas and People," presenting it as an opportunity to get God into the classroom; and that the text was lifted from an earlier creation science text). Having more general philosophical discussion about the nature of 'science' might well have been interesting in its own right, but it would not have served plaintiffs nearly as well as did specific evidence bearing on the main issue in the case.

    We all know that the "good guys" employed some legal trickery in order to bolster their case.

    Providing specific facts on the main issue in the case, and refusing to be distracted by subsidiary issues, no matter how interesting they may be to non-litigants like us, is "legal trickery"? I disagree.

    I'd be content with this if the accommodationists openly admitted that they pulled the wool over the eyes of Judge Jones and got him to agree with their definition of science.

    It wasn't Judge Jones' job to decide whether science and religion are compatible, whether Biblical descriptions of miracles are factual, etc. The judge expressly declined to speak to such questions. (See page 64 of the opinion: "ID arguments may be true, a proposition on which the Court takes no position.") The plaintiffs' experts thus did not 'fool' Judge Jones regarding compatibility of science and religion. What they did was provide evidence regarding the subsidiary issue relevant to the case: whether ID is simply science, as defendants contended, or a Trojan Horse designed to introduce the God of Christianity into the classroom by requiring divine intervention to explain speciation and the history of life.

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  15. We all know that the "good guys" employed some legal trickery in order to bolster their case. I'd be content with this if the accommodationists openly admitted that they pulled the wool over the eyes of Judge Jones and got him to agree with their definition of science.

    I hesitate to assume that accommodationists were being disingenuous in pushing the particular philosophy of science they used in the trial. I mean, it's an incoherent philosophy IMO, but many people honestly hold incoherent beliefs. (Incoherent only insofar as it fails to account for all the data - e.g. they can't call studies intercessory prayer science under their definition of methodological naturalism.)

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  16. johnfruh said
    However, in contrast, Haught provides no evidence for his metaphysical plurality of levels ending with the "ultimate" reality of his god.
    His argument accordingly fails.


    Well put. I would argue further that his argument is pseudoscientific in the same (strongly pejorative) way as astrology or psychoanalysis insofar as it includes strategies for eluding falsification: "you don't see the hidden meaning? well of course you don't, it's hidden."

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  17. Jud says,

    It wasn't Judge Jones' job to decide whether science and religion are compatible, whether Biblical descriptions of miracles are factual, etc. The judge expressly declined to speak to such questions. (See page 64 of the opinion: "ID arguments may be true, a proposition on which the Court takes no position.") The plaintiffs' experts thus did not 'fool' Judge Jones regarding compatibility of science and religion.

    On page 64 of the decision Judge Jones says,

    We find that ID fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to preclude a determination that ID is science. They are: (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation; (2) the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980's; and (3) ID’s negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community.

    We are discussing point #1. Here's what Judge Jones says on the following page.

    In deliberately omitting theological or “ultimate”explanations for the existence or characteristics of the natural world, science does not consider issues of “meaning” and “purpose” in the world. (9:21 (Haught); 1:64, 87 (Miller)). While supernatural explanations may be important and have merit, they are not part of science. (3:103 (Miller); 9:19-20 (Haught)). This self-imposed convention of science, which limits inquiry to testable, natural explanations about the natural world, is referred to by philosophers as “methodological naturalism” and is sometimes known as the scientific method. (5:23, 29-30 (Pennock)). Methodological naturalism is a “ground rule” of science today which requires scientists to seek explanations in the world around us based upon what we can observe, test, replicate, and verify. (1:59-64, 2:41-43 (Miller); 5:8, 23-30 (Pennock)).

    I do not believe that there is a consensus of opinion on this point. I believe that there are substantial numbers of scientists and philosophers who do not limit science in this manner. They believe that science can, and has, investigated supernatural claims and found them wanting. They do not believe that methodological naturalism is a requirement of science. They do not believe that questions of meaning and purpose are outside of science as a way of knowing.

    Judge Jones knew nothing about this controversy. That's largely due to the incompetence of the defense attorneys.

    I can understand why the plaintiff's lawyers tried to convince Judge Jones that ID lay outside of science because of the self-imposed limitations of science. It helps their case.

    The fact that it might be untrue isn't relevant because, as you imply, courts don't decide truth. It only sounds like they do when a judge gets fooled.

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  18. "But at the same time you could just as easily have answered that question by saying, it's boiling because my wife turned the gas on. Or you could also answer that same question by saying it's boiling because I want tea."

    That is exactly what he said in the debate. I can only respond with "why don't you make your own damn tea?"

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  19. I said:
    I'm not a scientist or an educator, but I think that unsophisticated science is better than no science, if we are trying to take a pragmatic approach to getting (and keeping) science education in schools.

    Anonymous Anonymous said: That's not "pragmatic". It's cowardly. Science is a method, not just a rag-bag of facts. Teaching "unsophisticated science" isn't teaching science at all.

    Sorry, I'm not seeing how it's cowardly (though I would possibly accept the accept the accusation of posing a false dichotomy between unsophisticated science and no science). I'm also not seeing where I said not to teach the scientific method.

    Kids should be taught science starting in kindergarten. Sure it's important to teach the scientific method (as appropriate to their age), but we need to provide facts too, since we are not going to ask them to derive all their scientific knowledge from first principles when there's plenty of giant shoulders for them to stand on.

    As far as I can tell, Haught's unsophisticated science doesn't dismiss the scientific method per se, but erects eroneous artificial boundaries to knowledge (in other words, gaps to fill with his god). I think elementary school science would fit fine inside his silly boundaries, the same way Newtonian mechanics is also fine for elementary school science. I don't think it's useful to try to teach elementary school students that the gods of almost all religions are completely incompatible with science.

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  20. For the record.
    Ti's no category mistake to liken haughty Haught's explanatory scheme to anismism as he illicitly brings forward teleology -agency -intent- when science finds no intent behind naturl causes. He supports reduced animism as opposed to full animism but at both levels no intent ensues and thus both are superstitious. Laugh at the primitives who flee due to the volcano spirit but the laugh boomerangs on supernaturalists who flee reality due to the spirit behind Nature.
    Dr. Moran, despite our friend Eugenie Scott, ti's scientific as well as philosophical that dinve intent directs natural causes, and last Thursdayism is just foolish.

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