What could ID test empirically anyway? (spin-off)

(Stephen Matheson) #1

I think this would merit a thread of its own. Think about it?

Intelligent Design makes more sense than BioLogos
(Steve Schaffner) #2


(Benjamin Kirk) #3

ID is incredibly presumptuous–but isn’t the Designer supposed to be unspecified?

I’m not following your language here. One can easily test ID hypotheses; your use of the vague term “ID” is interfering. For example, I can easily hypothesize WHEN ID occurred–that some sort of intelligent design was involved in the lineage of humans since the common ancestor with chimps.

Do you not see that it design at that time makes empirical predictions about discontinuities in the nested hierarchy, or even better, destroys the nested hierarchy?

(Benjamin Kirk) #4

As a scientist, that makes absolutely no sense as a description of how science works.

Regardless of whether the word is used, it’s irrelevant conceptually, as real science isn’t about proof. It’s about testing and disproving one’s own hypotheses, not testing straw man versions of others’ hypotheses.

(Jon Garvey) #5


You are being unreasonable to ask me to give details of a hypothetical example, which I used purely to explain a position more exactly for Christy. If such a piece of research were not empirically testable, then it would not be refutable either, and a lot of papers refuting such research would need to be withdrawn.

(Benjamin Kirk) #6

I’m not following you at all. “Pieces of research” are not empirically testable, hypotheses and theories are!

You claimed that your example was “not too far from actuality.” From what actual actuality is it not too far?

(George Brooks) #7

@Jon_Garvey, I’m a much more reasonable fellow than many of your recent antagonists.

But any scientist (professional or amateur) should be able to develop a testable hypothesis. In this case, I.D. proposes that there are some points in the evolution of life on Earth that could not have occurred through “unintentional causation” alone.

The flagellum? A famous case. And there must be a few more. But naming a body part is not the same thing as specifying an hypothesis. What Hypothesis shall we construct?

Here is a hypothesis offered in “Evolutionary News” (URL at the bottom of the posting):

[1] “Design theorists hypothesize that if a natural object was designed, it will contain high levels of CSI [Complex and Specified Information]”

[2] “Scientists then perform experimental tests upon natural objects to determine if they contain Complex and Specified Information.”

[3] “One easily testable form of CSI is irreducible complexity, which can be tested for by reverse-engineering biological structures through genetic knockout experiments to determine if they require all of their parts to function.”

I can see lots of troubles with this approach:
A) CSI? So are Tree Rings CSI? Is the information locked up in a mile deep glacier ice CSI? Is the intricately complex layering of fossils CSI?

B) How does one “test” for the presence of CSI? Where do we even start? I think we are going to need a hypothesis about making hypotheses about CSI.

C) This concluding thought says CSI is “easily testable” by reverse engineering. For a couple of centuries men of learning tried to reverse engineer the wings and feathers of birds. And when Evolutionary Theory arrived, similar men tried to understand how a “semi-wing” could do anyone any good at all. It would be a few generations before it was suddenly discovered that feathers were not originally designed to carry a bird into the air… it was insulation, and mating colors. And then it was shown that some creatures that coudn’t fly could still use feather-covered appendages to ascend more quickly up slopes and tree branches. They weren’t flying at all. But there was still benefits to be accrued from partially feathered anatomy.

One man’s non-functioning wing can easily be another man’s “escape assistance device”!


(Jon Garvey) #8

This is true. But you too miss the point: in trying to demonstrate the actual claims of the ID movement, against what is often purported to be their position, I am acting in purely in the interest of increasing understanding. I am neither making claims about the truth or validity of their claims, nor putting my self under any obligation to do their apologetics for them.

So my remarks really have no place on this thread (which “span off” after I made them!)

(George Brooks) #9


If their purpose is that they think Science can reveal God, as distinct from an Alien, then it will fail.

If they are looking for alien life, I think they might succeed.

(system) #10

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