ne accipias falsum parsimonia... et effugere falsum dichotomia.
April 21, 2017 at 2:58 pm
I recently attended a play (“Disinherit the Wind”) by Matt Chait
in L.A. (who is definitely NOT a creationist in any generally accepted
sense) after which a group largely composed of ID people applauded a
monistic take on ID—not because they think its monism is correct but
because it showed a serious grasp of both ID and the academic freedom
that is desired for it.
There are many problems I have with the way ID is characterized on
this site [Evolution 2.0].
(1) It is generally difficult (if not impossible) to have a
clear discussion about the claims made concerning ID without first
having a clear discussion of what constitutes “miraculous” and
“supernatural” (and whatever other related terms) in a scientific or
meta-scientific sense. I agree with what Paul Brown wrote on [the] Meyer
debate thread. You’ve defined god-of-the gaps so broadly that any
abductive inference to X becomes an X-of-the-gaps if it’s possible for
some new finding to make Y seem much likely than X. “Science” becomes
by definition naturalism-of-the-gaps, with the gaps defined as anything
not yet explained naturalistically (whatever “naturalistic” means).
What Thomas Nagel writes here is a decent consideration of the
“inference to best explanation”: http://philosophy.fas.nyu.edu/docs/IO/1172/papa_132.pdf
The Drunkard's Search
(2) There are some implicit assumptions about the relationship of
science to paychecks that seem both unrealistic and philosophically
flawed (i.e. both descriptively and prescriptively deficient).
(3) It is not clear to me that even a young earth creationist would
disagree with macroevolution in the sense that I see it construed here.
In the range of being a theistic evolutionist (in the Behe sense) to
being a baraminologist, I [think] there are people who are very interested in
understanding what sorts of speciation are actually possible. It would
be especially interesting to see you debate Cornelius Hunter, who draws
very different conclusions from the same sorts of “overnight evolution”
findings that you admirably draw attention to.
(4) You don’t seem to appreciate—your disclaimer notwithstanding—why
the appeal to smart cells comes across as question-begging to ID
theorists. You seem to be attributing to cells not only some sort of
mind but one which discovers and operates on deep insights into the
relationship between its underlying architecture and the environment
that it needs to survive in. “I can explain how origin of the species
is possible naturally: A cell forms through chemical interactions and
its progeny evolve to be so smart that its intelligence can cause a kind
of thoughtful tinkering with its DNA. Then the evolution of body plans
can occur and the eventual existence of a hairless ape that can figure
out the Incompleteness Theorem is somehow entailed in the process.” All
that explanation seems to accomplish is dividing the explanandum
(proliferation of diverse complex organisms) into at least 2 explananda.
If a software team recombined some existing software components and
copied them into existing plane hardware that was already integrated as a
plane, it would be an interesting technical challenge to produce a new
working system that way, but it certainly wouldn’t show how easy it is
for an airplane to form without reference to intentional “intervention”
along its development. In fact, if the machine was doing most of its
own reprogramming, it would *beg the question* of how it was possible
for such a machine to have formed by itself or by the environment. All
of this evokes the principle of the drunkard’s search—except maybe that
instead of replying “this is where the light is” then answer may be
“this is where the (public) funding is.”