Scientific hypotheses make empirical predictions


(Benjamin Kirk) #1

Continuing the discussion from John Wesley on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design:

Hello Bio,

I’ve edited what you wrote only to number your claims to more clearly address the problems with each of them:

  1. People make claims; fuzzy concepts like “biological ID” cannot.

  2. In real science, theories don’t “revolve around” concepts, they describe mechanisms and make empirical predictions. “Empirical” in this context means what we directly observe or measure, not how you or I or anyone else will interpret those measurements and observations after we have them.

  3. People present evidence. In science, anyone can test any clearly-stated hypothesis (the ID movement doesn’t have one), so this makes no sense. Even worse, those who advocate for a hypothesis are expected to be those who devise the most stringent tests to falsify the hypothesis, so Bio writing this amounts to a rejection of the scientific method.

  4. This is circular. This is not a prediction, it is the hypothesis itself.

  5. This is not a prediction either. Bio is completely confused here, conflating the hypothesis with the prediction.

  6. That’s the hypothesis, not the prediction! A scientific prediction has to refer only to what we directly observe or measure, and there’s nothing of the sort here.

Please, Bio, provide an empirical prediction. What should we directly observe or measure if your ID hypothesis is false? What should we observe if it is correct? The former is far more important than the latter. The whole point of science is to prevent us from engaging in wishful thinking–all interpretation of the observations needs to be baked in before you get them. I see no willingness to do so from you.

The easiest way to distinguish pseudoscience from science is to see if there are any real, empirical predictions. Trying to falsify one’s most precious hypothesis is much more important than trying to support it. Bio, I don’t see any evidence from what you write that you are willing to test your hypothesis.

For example, Einstein’s theory of general relativity predicted the anomalous perihelion advance of Mercury, the deflection of light by the sun and other large bodies, and the gravitational redshift of light. Note that all of these predictions are empirical measurements, not subject to interpretation.


(George Brooks) #2

I wonder if it is time to investigate the DESIGN in the human genome… but the LESS than perfect design that would reflect LESS-THAN-PERFECT knowledge… aka, an alien designer, rather than a DIVINE designer…


(Benjamin Kirk) #3

That discussion is only worth having if the participants make an effort to learn:

  1. The proportion of the human genome with no known function in 1990; and
  2. The proportion of the human genome with no known function today.

Going on about papers that reclassify tiny amounts of the human genome from “no known function” to “functional” without this baseline is meaningless, or even worse, deceptive.

A sequence merely being transcribed does not imply functionality.


(Dcscccc) #4

that we will find a step wise way from one system to another. in the other hand- what will disprove the evolution?


#5

Benkirk,

I was about to post the following response to you on another thread, when I suddenly noticed that you started a whole new OP.

On that previous thread, I was in conversation that you were not participating in. You then asked me a one-line question, and so I gave you a similarly short answer. Without responding, you then disappeared from the thread.

Who knew you would take my short answer and dissect it as uncharitably as possible, as if it were the opening of a doctoral thesis. It’s a little unseemly.

In any case, here is your response:


Vincent Torley: “ID theory does not identify the Designer with the God of the Bible, as the currently available scientific evidence does not warrant that conclusion.”

Bio: That is a statement of fact.

Benkirk: That is not a statement of fact. There is no such thing as “ID theory.”

You seem to have your reasoning mixed up. The notion that there is “no ID theory” is merely an assertion on your part. And frankly, it’s a toothless one in this instance. If the subject was ID Chocolate-Chip Cookie Mix, and it didn’t identify design as being from the God of the Bible, then my statement would still be true.

Benkirk: Theories are hypotheses that have been through many attempts to falsify them.

Okay, and in broad terms, ID Theory is the theory that life and/or cosmos are the product of design by an intelligence. It is in direct opposition to the theory that they are the products of unguided natural processes. It represents a consilience of universal observations that have not been falsified (as well as alternative explanations that have not been demonstrated). It seeks to bolster those observations with new data.

Has biogenesis been falsified?

As an apparent demarcationist, how good are you at working universal observations in to your science? Do they have any role in our collective search for the best approximation of reality, or not? How about the observation that encoded semiotic memory is a universal correlate of intelligence?

Frankly, I thought most people had jumped off the demarcation train a few stops back. It reached such a peak in ~2008, 2009, 2010. There were enough conversations about ID not being science, and not this, and not that, and not the other. People began to understand that when they cut off enough of science to keep ID out of the club, they left half their own projects and people out of the club as well. It was not going to be good for funding.

Of course, the real-world problem with the “demarcation-rules-violation” line of argument is that it’s eventually irrelevant to everyone anyway. The meaningful argument will always gravitate to the actual evidence (as it should), while doctrinaire skirmishes fall to the wayside. Whatever rhetorical value they serve on a blog, it’s a poor long-term strategy because it has no lasting effect. The only thing that really matters in science is what can be empirically demonstrated and systematically reasoned with.

Benkirk: How about stating a mechanistic hypothesis and the empirical (that means not subject to interpretation) predictions it makes? Please leave out any grand titles, as they only serve to muddy the waters.

I’ve already presented a testable hypothesis of design, which you could have found with even a modicum of effort. It’s published on Biosemiosis.org under the cryptic title “A Scientific Hypothesis of Design”.


It occurs to me that you asked for something while having no expectation that I would (or could) provide it. But now that I have, what will you do? My general hunch is that there is no way on Earth that you can accept the fact. I would love to be wrong.


#6

Is anybody planning to test this?


#7

All of the material observations have already been fully documented in the literature, they are not even controversial. This isn’t a matter of material evidence; it’s the application of logic that is at stake. Frankly, the evidence has been staring us in the face for more than half a century, and was predicted even further back than that. The issue here is about control. It is the conclusion that is disallowed – by the materialists that run the show, and whatever allies they pick up along the way.


#8

OK, so how would one go about testing it?


#9

Hello Beaglelady,

To conduct the test would imply that there is anyone who questions the material observations required by the test. No one who is even remotely acquainted with the translation system has any such questions. Again, this is not about being able to demonstrate the physical requirements of the test.


(Benjamin Kirk) #10

Hello Bio,

Please state this alleged theory and the alleged EMPIRICAL observations simply and clearly.

You’re just dancing around as far as I can see.


(Benjamin Kirk) #11

There’s no statement of a hypothesis there, nor are there any empirical predictions. It’s a fine example of pseudoscience, though.


#12

You do realize that others can simply click the link and read the words, don’t you?

Let me enlighten you to something, when you do what you just did, pretending as you have, just in order to get in another cheap shot, you transmit the unmistakable signal that you are not a serious person with a serious mind. In other words, you overplayed your cards.

I would hate to think you are the standard here at Biologos.


(George Brooks) #13

I read the page … I don’t get it. What exactly does this “test” prove in your view?

George


#14

Good grief George,

The first sentence:

The validity of any test proposing to identify the action of an unknown intelligence is explicitly tied to the methodology being used to conduct the test.

Is this Jr. High stuff the best that Biologos has to offer?


(George Brooks) #15

Bio…

Well, apparently, you must be SWAMPED with people who understand your every word.

I am not one of them. Can you summarize that incredibly complex page into a single sentence or two? I understand a sentence here or there… but don’t know what the point is …

George


#16

Yes.

  1. When a cell translates genetic information to reproduce itself, it exhibits properties that a physicist can identify among all other physical systems.

  2. That system can only be identified one other place anywhere in the cosmos - that is in recorded language and mathematics.


(Benjamin Kirk) #17

I don’t think so, since you are hurling insults instead of simply stating a hypothesis and empirical predictions.


(Benjamin Kirk) #18

What do either of those have to do with a hypothesis or empirical predictions?


#19

Ben,

What do you think the hypothesis and predictions are when SETI monitors for narrow-band radio signals in their search for an unknown intelligence?


(George Brooks) #20

Thank you for clarifying the point of that page. How do you go about PROVING that a cell’s manipulation of genetic information reveals a design system equal to language designed and manipulated by humans?

Secondly, I see a distinct difference between the nature of recorded language and mathematic theory. I am inclined to see math as an apriori kind of truth… rather than a DESIGNED truth.

George