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Thread: Is intelligent Design a scientific theory?

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    Re: Is intelligent Design a scientific theory?

    I think intelligent design was created by people who realized that evolution is a fact and undeniable and decided that its easier to say that god did it.
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    Re: Is intelligent Design a scientific theory?

    I think intelligent design was created by people who realized that evolution is a fact and undeniable and decided that its easier to say that god did it.
    To add, It was people who realized the 6k old universe idea was sounding more ridiculous every day, but they felt admitting this would cause their entire belief structure to fail, so they had to modify their beliefs to something less ridiculous.
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    Re: Is intelligent Design a scientific theory?

    Quote Originally Posted by Boo Radley
    A scientific theory is a set of principles that explain and predict phenomena.[1] Scientists create scientific theories with the scientific method, when they are originally proposed as hypotheses and tested for accuracy through observations and experiments.[2]

    Scientific theory - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    . . . a scientific theory is a tested and expanded hypothesis that explains many experiments and fits ideas together in a framework.

    Scientific theory - Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    scientific theory

    noun
    a theory that explains scientific observations; "scientific theories must be falsifiable"

    Scientific theory | Define Scientific theory at Dictionary.com

    I don't think there is much debate on what it is, really. And those in the field of science decide.
    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?

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    Re: Is intelligent Design a scientific theory?

    Overall the problem is the math. That life began at all out of neucleotides, many of which are near impossible to replicate even today, by random is so high the chances would be impossible given the age of the universe as we understand it.

    Here's an interesting site with some work ups of the math over the decades by scientists.
    Are the Odds Against the Origin of Life Too Great to Accept? (Addendum B to Review of David Foster's The Philosophical Scientists)


    Which is why faith is sometimes easier to believe than the science.
    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?

    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?
    I quite disagree with you. Here's why;

    1) It is not being right all the time that is the important element involved, it is instead the questioning, the testing, the revising. It is easier for the faithful to just say it is, never question, and be convinced all their lives no matter what the evidence says on any matter. But for the scientist, taking the more difficult road, things must be questioned, examined, tested, and revised. The point is always to learn more and not be finished learning.

    2) Your last paragraph misses the point completely. Accounts do decide the principles of accounting. They are not decided by the church, or by non-accounts (or mathematicians) in the public, but those who have studied the principles by which they practice. And frankly, math effects our everyday lives every bit as much as science. Math is just a little easier, especially at the basic level to accept as rule.

    The point is, you're factually incorrect. All fields, over a long period of time in most cases, did decide what is and isn't in their field and continue to do so today.

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    Re: Is intelligent Design a scientific theory?

    1) Well, that doesn't help us. Don't artists test, revise, etc.? Don't philosophers do that also? And this simply ignores the point I made, which was that most theories with any currency today started out as essentially untested propositions. If they weren't science, then this puts science in a peculiar pickle, it would seem.

    2) The principles of accounting, I admit, are decided by accountants. That's different than saying, however, that the scope of accounting is decided by accountants. In short, your reply doesn't answer the point.

    3) I am not factually incorrect. This is one of my favorite topics to ponder (namely: what is science?). I'm fairly well-educated in the literature on the subject.

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    Re: Is intelligent Design a scientific theory?

    Quote Originally Posted by ashurbanipal View Post
    1) Well, that doesn't help us. Don't artists test, revise, etc.? Don't philosophers do that also? And this simply ignores the point I made, which was that most theories with any currency today started out as essentially untested propositions. If they weren't science, then this puts science in a peculiar pickle, it would seem.
    No, a hypothesis starts out untested. This is the process. Your point, the one not ignored, isn't really clear. Science begins with a question, followed by a hypothesis, testing and theory, followed by more questioning. It is the process.

    2) The principles of accounting, I admit, are decided by accountants. That's different than saying, however, that the scope of accounting is decided by accountants. In short, your reply doesn't answer the point.
    Actually it does, as I include mathematitions. I think you just don't like the answer. Each field defines what is and isn't in the field. I stated that clearly ans well, and mention who doesn't decide for them.

    3) I am not factually incorrect. This is one of my favorite topics to ponder (namely: what is science?). I'm fairly well-educated in the literature on the subject.
    Something being a favorite is equal to you having it down. You were factually incorrect.

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    Re: Is intelligent Design a scientific theory?

    Quote Originally Posted by ashurbanipal View Post
    1) Well, that doesn't help us. Don't artists test, revise, etc.? Don't philosophers do that also? And this simply ignores the point I made, which was that most theories with any currency today started out as essentially untested propositions. If they weren't science, then this puts science in a peculiar pickle, it would seem.
    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.
    I may be wrong.

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    Re: Is intelligent Design a scientific theory?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ockham View Post
    Overall the problem is the math. That life began at all out of neucleotides, many of which are near impossible to replicate even today, by random is so high the chances would be impossible given the age of the universe as we understand it.
    Even if that were true, it's still subject to observer bias. 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.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 04-27-12 at 03:58 PM.
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    Re: Is intelligent Design a scientific theory?

    Quote Originally Posted by Boo Radley
    No, a hypothesis starts out untested. This is the process. Your point, the one not ignored, isn't really clear. Science begins with a question, followed by a hypothesis, testing and theory, followed by more questioning. It is the process.
    It is, or ought to be, totally clear. If an hypothesis is just a group of related propositions, and those statements are untested, just what separates a scientific hypothesis from a non-scientific one?

    You said, in response to my entire post #83 (apparently), that it's (what? I'm not sure what "it" refers to) not a matter of being right all the time, but it is instead the questioning, the testing, the revising.

    I replied that artists and philosophers question, test, and revise all the time. But surely you aren't saying that artists and philosophers are scientists, are you? That seems overly broad.

    Just to increase the clarity and make sure everyone's on the same page, here: my thesis is that it's not clear what science is. It's not clear what separates science from other disciplines. The borders are fuzzy, if not entirely nonexistant in spots. You seem to disagree with that assessment. So when you say that science is about testing, revising, and questioning, you had better say specifically what's different about the way a scientist tests, revises, and questions if you want to have a point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Boo Radley
    Actually it does, as I include mathematitions.
    You include mathematicians in what? In the category of accountants? I can think of a few dozen mathematicians off the top of my head that would probably take issue with that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Boo Radley
    I think you just don't like the answer. Each field defines what is and isn't in the field. I stated that clearly ans well, and mention who doesn't decide for them.
    No, I don't like it because I think it's wrong. People working in a field neither completely define what that scope of that field is, nor should they be allowed to. That was the purpose of the accountant example. If accountants were allowed to just decide the scope of their work, with no other force to contradict or shape their decision, then clearly accountants would be free to proclaim that everything is accounting. This would leave accountants in a position to dictate to artists, writers, scientists, politicians, businesspeople, actors, philosophers, historians, and even athletes the principles of those disciplines. Clearly, the decision as to the scope of a particular area of endeavor should not be left up to those working in the field.

    Nor is it, as a matter of practical necessity. To use accountants, again, it turns out that politicians have a heck of a lot to say about what accountants do and do not do. So do business managers. So do mathematicians, and to a lesser extent, economists. This is not to say that accountants don't have some say in determining the scope of accounting. But it is to say that they are far from the only one who determine that scope. A similar rule applies to the sciences.

    Quote Originally Posted by Boo Radley
    Something being a favorite is equal to you having it down. You were factually incorrect.
    If that were all I had said, you'd have a good point. But that isn't all I said, now is it? In the section you quoted, I said:

    I'm fairly well-educated in the literature on the subject.
    Tracing back just a little, you introduced the phrase "factually incorrect" by saying:

    The point is, you're factually incorrect.
    Emphasis added.

    This occurred at the end of your post 85, and the bolded part led me to believe that the entirety of post 85 was meant to show me factually incorrect. I rebutted post 85, short as it was, point by point, and then said I was not factually incorrect because, first, being motivated to read up on the topic (it being one of my favorite topics to read up on and ponder), I have in fact read up on the topic, and am fairly familiar with the issues at hand. Second, for the reasons stated in my rebuttal, I am not factually incorrect contra your rebutted claim. You are, of course, free to rebutt further...
    Last edited by ashurbanipal; 04-27-12 at 05:29 PM.

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