View Poll Results: Is intelligent Design a scientific theory?

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Thread: Is intelligent Design a scientific theory?

  1. #91
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    Re: Is intelligent Design a scientific theory?

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon W. Moon
    If the hypothesis is incapable of being hypothetically tested, then it's not science.

    That's something which rules out an omniscient and omnipotent being with inscrutable motives from being a part of a scientific theory.

    There's nothing which can disprove that being's involvement because that being's involvement could appear as anything else or nothing at all. Out very perceptions could be controlled or influenced by such a being.

    imho, bringing God into a scientific problem is akin to solving an equation by multiplying both sides by zero.
    Now, perhaps, we're getting somewhere. OK:

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon W. Moon
    If the hypothesis is incapable of being hypothetically tested, then it's not science.
    There is no hypothesis that can be tested without certain assumptions in place. Those assumptions usually form parts of other theories, which were themselves tested with yet other assumptions in place. Rinse and repeat, ad nauseum. This really does seem to be a problem for you, because it means that all hypotheses are on equal footing; what determines whether we deem one hypothesis scientific and another not are the assumptions we accept. But at some point in the analysis, our acceptance of assumptions becomes arbitrary.

    That said, I don't think all is quite lost for the point behind your assertion. What is really implied, however, is that science builds to a certain point, until it can no longer do so. Then the structure must be unbuilt, and rebuilt in a different manner. I think this is actually the great virtue of science, that it's capable of such a process. However, human beings, far too often ignorant of the history of science, tend to place a lot more faith in a given conclusion than is typically warranted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon W. Moon
    That's something which rules out an omniscient and omnipotent being with inscrutable motives from being a part of a scientific theory.
    Really? It doesn't seem so to me. Admittedly, we couldn't test for properties of that being, but we could test for meta-properties. In fact, we do that all the time. Gravity, for instance, is just such a being. Consider: no one's ever seen gravity. You can't put an ounce of it in a container. You can't snap a picture of it. Dark matter was invented just to keep the force of gravity constant over the observed universe (which is not the same as saying that dark matter doesn't exist--it's merely to point out that phyicists were committed to the uniformity of gravitational force, and so had to posit more mass than could be observed). But we never see any properties of gravity. We only see meta-properties, which is to say, we have a hard time finding a regular and overarching pattern in the observed motions of bodies without supposing there is such a thing as gravity.

    Now, the fact that we can find at least a locally valid pattern is a good argument that gravity exists. But it's important to understand that we can't test directly. we can only test on a meta-level.

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon W. Moon
    There's nothing which can disprove that being's involvement because that being's involvement could appear as anything else or nothing at all. Out very perceptions could be controlled or influenced by such a being.
    Well, I agree, but I don't think this quite has the epistemic consequences you seem to think it does. Suppose for a moment that we got on the internet tomorrow, and splashed all over all the news sites was the headline "We've Figured it All Out!" The story is that some brilliant group of researchers at Cambridge or some such place have suddenly figured out a theory of everything. They can now explain consciousness, all the observed forces, life, the presence of matter, all the mysteries of quantum mechanics, evolution, etc. etc. etc. Literally, there's an equation for everything, and it accords perfectly with all our observations, leaving none out and explaining all of them completely. While the theist might still maintain that, well, God wrote the equation, it'd be hard for most people to buy that. Such a God wouldn't be worthy of the name, it seems.

    This line of thought goes back to at least Thucydides and Democritus. Minds are supposed to be irregular and unpredictable. If there is a mind at the bottom of nature, we will expect to see capriciousness, willed action, arbitrariness, and so on. If there is not, we will expect to see regularity, predictability, and natural law. A God with free will that has constrained itself forever and perfectly to an equation has effectively given up that will. It is no longer God.

    So the question is, then, what kind of world do we observe?

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    Re: Is intelligent Design a scientific theory?

    Quote Originally Posted by ashurbanipal View Post
    Well, you should be aware that all of that is riddled with problems. Consider:

    1) Is relativity a scientific theory? Was it a scientific theory when it was proposed? Was it even a proper hypothesis when the 1905 paper was published? I think there's decent consensus that it wouldn't qualify under most of the positions that you cite. But if it wasn't, then what was it? Philosophy? That would be fairly troubling for most scientists, I suspect--to think that a piece of philosophy almost singlehandedly revolutionized science...

    2) Relativity is hardly alone in this. Synaptic-cognitive theory, for instance, proposed by Simon y Cajal, was more or less in the same category. He was able to observe, very vaguely, the synapse, but this observation hardly serves as a proper substrate for his theory. The math to even make it make any sense or provide testable predictions didn't exist for another three decades. But again, if it was philosophy when it was proposed (as Relativity would be under such considerations), that would mean that not only did a philosophy found modern physics, philosophy also founded modern neuroscience. Or what about various non-euclidean geometries, or the metrics which evolved from them? Again, I think there's a pretty good consensus that they didn't follow any textbook scientific method in their genesis. If you dig into the history of most of the really important theories that have any currency, you'll find a similar situation. There are exceptions, of course (germ theory comes to mind), but the situation is far from uniform.

    3) We could also, it seems, profitably wonder about all the theories that seem to have been based on sound observation, and to have conformed with observation, only to be abandoned later. This raises, eventually, a question that is related to what is called Hempel's dilemma: if the claim is that scientific theories are only provisionally true and subject to abandonment under new observational consequences, then the history of science ought to convince us that science is a collection of mostly false statements. But that really doesn't seem right, does it?

    4) Or we could take a different tack: is mathematics a science? If it is, just what about how mathematics is done grants it such a status? What experiments do mathematicians perform? What experiment did, say, Liebniz or Newton perform to come up with the idea of the differential equation? If it isn't, then that's also troubling, it seems--mathematics is the de facto language of science, and if mathematics is not science, then science must be founded upon something that isn't science. This raises the obvious question whether science is really anything at all, or just a nebulous part of some other, broader discipline.

    4) I think W.V.O. Quine and Pierre Duhem put paid to falsificationism; there are far more defenders of that doctrine on boards such as these and in wiki articles than in actual practice either by working scientists or philosophers of science (which is not to say that there aren't still professional proponents of falsificationism). It turns out that a theory is only falsified provided certain other assumptions are made, and what Quine-Duhem showed is that all theories, of any possible configuration, always have such concomittant assumptions, which are in fact just parts of other theories. In any case, very few scientists actually proceed as falsificationists. Most work by a combination of falsification and verification, especially because, under falsification, it's quite difficult to make very many meaningful statements about the world. we could not, for instance, say "the earth is roughly spherical." We'd have to say "as far as we know, no one has ever shown the earth isn't spherical." But couldn't the earth be dodecahedral? A strict falsificationist could not meaningfully say "there's no reason to believe the earth is dodecahedral" because that statement assumes exactly the sorts of epistemological committments that falsificationists eschew.

    5) Finally, with regard to scientists (only) deciding what is and isn't science, that's just patently absurd. If we were to establish as a principle that those who work in a field decide the scope of that field, then clear abuses are allowed. For instance, accountants might suddenly claim that accounting encompasses all fields of human endeavor, and suddenly accountants would be in a position to dictate what-for to scientists. But if, instead, we leave off the principle, we can hardly maintain the original proposition: why would science be special in this regard? Why would scientists get to choose what is or isn't science, when no other field enjoys the same power?
    Relativity is two theories, not one. That would be factual error number 1.

    You refer to 1905, so one would assume you are referring to "special relativity". The Paper On The Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies was not a theory, but a pair of postulates and then a look at what would result from them. The postulates where based on the current observations of the time. Therefore it was science. They where testable, therefore they where science. So your first point fails a miserable death.

    You repeat the same error in your second point. Theories do not leap out full cloth, there is a process to become a theory. Just because something is not yet a theory does not mean it is not part of science. If you make one or more hypothesis based on observation that can be tested and falsified, that is what we call the scientific method. That is, it is science.

    Your whole post reads of stealing from an anti-science site designed to confuse those who have no clue about science. It is flat out nonsense.
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    Uh oh Megyn...your vagina witchcraft is about ready to be exposed.

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    Re: Is intelligent Design a scientific theory?

    Quote Originally Posted by ashurbanipal View Post
    There is no hypothesis that can be tested without certain assumptions in place. Those assumptions usually form parts of other theories, which were themselves tested with yet other assumptions in place. Rinse and repeat, ad nauseum. This really does seem to be a problem for you, because it means that all hypotheses are on equal footing; what determines whether we deem one hypothesis scientific and another not are the assumptions we accept. But at some point in the analysis, our acceptance of assumptions becomes arbitrary.
    You completely fail to understand the scientific process. A hypothesis is built from observation. An apple falls from the tree to the ground. Why? Because objects exert an influence on other objects around them proportional to their mass. That last sentence would be a hypothesis. Please learn how science works before trying to criticize it.

    That said, I don't think all is quite lost for the point behind your assertion. What is really implied, however, is that science builds to a certain point, until it can no longer do so. Then the structure must be unbuilt, and rebuilt in a different manner. I think this is actually the great virtue of science, that it's capable of such a process. However, human beings, far too often ignorant of the history of science, tend to place a lot more faith in a given conclusion than is typically warranted.
    That is inaccurate due to your failed understanding of the scientific process. In fact, rather than going back and tearing each section of your post apart by repeating the same thing, the following works for your whole post: you do not understand the scientific method, nor how science works. Because of that you are saying really ridiculous stuff. It's like arguing with some one who thinks the moon landing was fake.
    We became a great nation not because we are a nation of cynics. We became a great nation because we are a nation of believers - Lindsey Graham

    Quote Originally Posted by Fiddytree View Post
    Uh oh Megyn...your vagina witchcraft is about ready to be exposed.

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    Re: Is intelligent Design a scientific theory?

    Quote Originally Posted by Redress View Post
    You completely fail to understand the scientific process. A hypothesis is built from observation. An apple falls from the tree to the ground. Why? Because objects exert an influence on other objects around them proportional to their mass. That last sentence would be a hypothesis. Please learn how science works before trying to criticize it.



    That is inaccurate due to your failed understanding of the scientific process. In fact, rather than going back and tearing each section of your post apart by repeating the same thing, the following works for your whole post: you do not understand the scientific method, nor how science works. Because of that you are saying really ridiculous stuff. It's like arguing with some one who thinks the moon landing was fake.
    I am forced to agree here...science does not have an end game, and is instead a never ending quest for answers. To state the process goes backward, is to make it clear you misunderstand the work.

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    Re: Is intelligent Design a scientific theory?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    Dark energy isn't well understood, but from what we have observed it's necessary for the dynamics of the observed universe.
    I understand that but nothing seems as straightforward to me as a good picture of gravitational lensing with the (unseen) gravity sources mapped onto the visible-light image. I've got a great example on my desktop ...

    Is intelligent Design a scientific theory?-176502main2_hst_dark_ring_1_250px-jpg

    http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hu...g_feature.html
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  6. #96
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    Re: Is intelligent Design a scientific theory?

    Quote Originally Posted by ashurbanipal View Post
    There is no hypothesis that can be tested without certain assumptions in place. Those assumptions usually form parts of other theories, which were themselves tested with yet other assumptions in place. Rinse and repeat, ad nauseum. This really does seem to be a problem for you, because it means that all hypotheses are on equal footing; what determines whether we deem one hypothesis scientific and another not are the assumptions we accept. But at some point in the analysis, our acceptance of assumptions becomes arbitrary.
    I am not sure if you have missed my point or if I have missed yours.
    But these comments don't seem connected to what I meant.

    I am trying to say that if there's not even a hypothetical test for a hypothesis that could conceivable show that the hypothesis is incorrect, then the hypothesis is not a scientific one.


    Quote Originally Posted by ashurbanipal View Post
    Really? It doesn't seem so to me. Admittedly, we couldn't test for properties of that being, but we could test for meta-properties. In fact, we do that all the time. Gravity, for instance, is just such a being. Consider: no one's ever seen gravity. You can't put an ounce of it in a container. You can't snap a picture of it. Dark matter was invented just to keep the force of gravity constant over the observed universe (which is not the same as saying that dark matter doesn't exist--it's merely to point out that phyicists were committed to the uniformity of gravitational force, and so had to posit more mass than could be observed). But we never see any properties of gravity. We only see meta-properties, which is to say, we have a hard time finding a regular and overarching pattern in the observed motions of bodies without supposing there is such a thing as gravity.

    Now, the fact that we can find at least a locally valid pattern is a good argument that gravity exists. But it's important to understand that we can't test directly. we can only test on a meta-level.
    Again, I am not sure how this relates to what I am meaning.

    Given that God could be the Ultimate Trickster and hide/delete all evidence of his existence, there is not a possible test which could disprove the existence of God. At best a lack of corroboration would only mean that God didn't want us to find w/e we were looking for because of His own inscrutable reasons.

    I don't see gravity as being an analog for that at all. Gravity and various other things are not capable of the same reality-bending as the omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent God.

    I am not trying argue about our limits of perception and deduction, rather I am concerned about the nebulous ineffability of "God".

    Quote Originally Posted by ashurbanipal View Post
    If there is a mind at the bottom of nature, we will expect to see capriciousness, willed action, arbitrariness, and so on. If there is not, we will expect to see regularity, predictability, and natural law.
    It doesn't seem that a numinous ineffability with omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence can be very modeled very well by human minds. It doesn't seem that it would be necessarily true that what is true for the minds we're familiar with, our own, would need to be true for a "mind" which is essentially limitless in scope.

    W/o the assumption that our minds are a suitable model for the mind of "God" it doesn't seem that we can take conclusions based on our own limited selves, such as "we will expect to see capriciousness, willed action, arbitrariness, and so on," and say that they will hold true for something which is defined as having a radically different nature than we do.
    I may be wrong.

  7. #97
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    Re: Is intelligent Design a scientific theory?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Even if that were true, it's still subject to observer bias.
    Science is based on observation - therefore all science is biased?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    The only universes which could produce observers capable of pondering the unlikeliness of it will be those universes where life forms. If it didn't happen, no one would be around to notice.
    That pretty much goes without saying.... yet that doesn't change that math.
    I think if Thomas Jefferson were looking down, the author of the Bill of Rights, on whats being proposed here, hed agree with it. He would agree that the First Amendment cannot be absolute. - Chuck Schumer (D). Yet, Madison and Mason wrote the Bill of Rights, according to Sheila Jackson Lee, 400 years ago. Yup, it's a fact.


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    Re: Is intelligent Design a scientific theory?

    Gravity is scientific fact but the problem is the universe is expanding instead of contracting which defies the law of gravity, scientist are baffled by this. The point being, there is no real fact at all, everything is theory when you get right down to it.

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    Re: Is intelligent Design a scientific theory?

    Quote Originally Posted by sawyerloggingon View Post
    Gravity is scientific fact but the problem is the universe is expanding instead of contracting which defies the law of gravity, scientist are baffled by this. The point being, there is no real fact at all, everything is theory when you get right down to it.
    I once read in some book on theoretical physics that there are gigantic fields of dark matter in between the galaxies, and that there was something about the dark matter that functioned to keep the galaxies from gravitationally collapsing in together on each other.

    Incidentally, much of the photonic zero-point field is located in these gigantic fields of dark matter.

    So if our "soul" link is really our unique zero-point field frequency(s) ..

    .. Then maybe once we're through with our "vacation" here on Earth ..

    .. We go back to "work" helping to keep the galaxies apart.
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    Re: Is intelligent Design a scientific theory?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ockham View Post
    Science is based on observation - therefore all science is biased?
    Selection bias - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Anthropic principle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    That pretty much goes without saying.... yet that doesn't change that math.
    Well actually it does, because you're measuring the wrong thing. Rather than ask the question "What is the probability that life forms in a universe?" the real question is "What is the probability that life forms in a universe in which I'm around to pose this question?" And of course for the latter question, the probability is 1.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 04-27-12 at 09:13 PM.
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