Of course they mean different things. (Duh!, as you say.)
But you still haven’t explained why both the natural and the supernatural can’t be involved in a given event or phenomenon. For example, when God sent rain after Elijah’s confrontation with the prophets of Baal, the fact that the supernatural was at work that day does not rule out that God could have used the condensation of water vapor around dust particles in clouds to bring about that precipitation.
I’m not necessarily trying to dismiss or argue against whatever position you are expressing here. I just don’t follow your reasoning.
Me too! And that’s why I made clear that anything I’ve written should NOT be assumed to “mean that I can use the scientific method to prove God’s role.” We certainly agree on that.
As a scientist (retired), I certainly agree. However, due to the confusion that can arise with lay audiences, we do have to keep in mind that non-scientists often use “prove” with a different definition in mind, just as they use the word “theory” with an entirely different, non-scientific meaning in mind.
It depends what you mean by “enough evidence” and what you “to the exclusion of all other possible causes.” We’ve all seen lots of absolutely appalling Argument from Personal Incredulity and Argument from Ignorance fallacies where a lot of scientific jargon, quotable quotes, subjective opinions, and “I don’t see what else it could be other than God” where they’ve just taken a God-of-the-Gaps arguments and tried to wrap it up in a verbose package that sounds convincing to the science-illiterate. This is virtually the hallmark of the Discovery Institute brand of “Intelligent Design” campaigns to the general public. And that’s a shame, because ID has the potential for some very important research, although usually more in philosophy than in science—though I would be absolutely thrilled if some scientists were to publish an actual “scientific theory of intelligent design” and gave us solid heuristic rules for determining whether any X we encounter is “intelligently designed.” (I just read some stuff about this at the Bible Science Forum and I love that objective.) Unfortunately, what we usually see instead from people like Stephen Meyer and the Discovery Institute amateurish philosophy dressed up in science terminology and masquerading as science.
There’s also a lot of confusion among the general public about how the standards of “reasonable doubt” in a courtroom when forensic experts present their professional opinions compared to what is expected of scientific papers in a peer-reviewed journal.
Yes, I will certainly agree that what is often called forensic science on a TV crime solving drama and the real thing in the real world is often quite different, so it sounds like we continue to be on the same wavelength here. I’ve noticed that those script writers sometimes apply courtroom tactics where forensic science is overplayed to produce fascinating parallels to God-of-the-Gaps arguments: “This couldn’t be my client or the alternative suspect----so it surely must have been the spurned lover! Science has eliminated everybody else!” [Music dramatically intrudes: “Dun, dun, duuuuun!”
It sounds like (and it is very possible that I’m misunderstanding you) that you are heading towards a scenario where “We’ve statistically shown unlikely that phenomenon X was caused by natural processes J, K, or L, therefore the only remaining possibility is God.” If that is the “reason and logic” being employed, there are all sorts of logical fallacies ready to walk up from behind and bite on the behind the person making such an argument. We don’t know all of the possible “natural processes P, Q, and R” yet undiscovered which could explain phenomenon X by means of natural causes. And that is precisely why the God-of-the-Gaps argument is so prone to failure.
Imagine if you were taking a walk on the beach at Kitty Hawk when the Wright Brothers were experimenting with their new invention. It would have been easy for some old guy seeing heavier-than-air flight for the first time to say, “I don’t see any ropes to overhead hot air balloons and I don’t see any Chinese fireworks rockets tied to that machine. So those two guys must be wizards and some supernatural beings are propelling that thing into the air! After all, it is only a matter of logical elimination of all other possibilities!”
I think you’ve hit the nail on the head as to the greatest failure of the popular ID promoters. Rarely do they present anything that is not an Argument from Incredulity or Argument from Ignorance used to justify old fashioned God-of-the-Gaps “reasoning”.
It’s a real shame because if someone does finally make breakthroughs in this area, I think they will have to choose a new technical term, because “Intelligent Design” has already become too associated with pseudo-science and really bad arguments/reasoning. In the minds of so many evolutionary biologists and paleontologists I’ve gotten to know online, ID is also associated with deceptive quote-mines, fabricated attributions, and just plain erroneous footnotes and failures to comprehend the science involved. Stephen Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt is absolutely loaded with bloopers that even a sharp undergrad biology major can catch. (I don’t even have significant training in comparative anatomy and genomics, and yet I was amazed to find so many errata myself.)