Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A Principle For Examining The Intelligent Design Controversy

Regarding the refusal of Darwinists to simply address the Intelligent Design arguments as given in the primary Intelligent Design works (by Behe, Dembski, Meyer, Johnson, et al) rather than resorting to non sequitors and caricatures in order to shut down the debate, some damned creationist just had this to say:

He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side; if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion. The rational position for him would be suspension of judgment, and unless he contents himself with that, he is either led by authority, or adopts, like the generality of the world, the side to which he feels most inclination. Nor is it enough that he should hear the arguments of adversaries from his own teachers, presented as they state them, and accompanied by what they offer as refutations. This is not the way to do justice to the arguments, or bring them into real contact with his own mind. He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them; who defend them in earnest, and do their very utmost for them. He must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form; he must feel the whole force of the difficulty which the true view of the subject has to encounter and dispose of, else he will never really possess himself of the portion of truth which meets and removes that difficulty. ... So essential is this discipline to a real understanding of moral and human subjects, that if opponents of all important truths do not exist, it is indispensable to imagine them and supply them with the strongest arguments which the most skilful devil's advocate can conjure up.

That John Stuart Mill, what the hell does he know about science? He's just part of a Trojan horse strategy to impose theocracy!

Here's where I saw the quote.


Anonymous said...

I did not realize that most people who believe in Intelligent Design quite so literally need professional help for their beliefs.

However, so that I can fully analyze ID claims, please help me find those who "do their very utmost for" ID. A hypothesis that is vague both as to actor and action is not one that is worth considering: it is most certainly a failure of imagination *somewhere*. Which primary works on ID state:

- Who the Intelligent Designer is (or are)? This is primarily for the record, since almost everyone understands it to be some God.

- How the Intelligent Designer(s) realized the alleged design? We can observe a great number of physical processes in biological systems, and most of them are deterministic given the initial configuration. Is the design realized by violations of these rules, by some influence outside of these rules, or by control over the initial configuration?

- When the Intelligent Design was or is realized? For example, one of Lee Spetner's core arguments is that mutation rates we currently see cannot explain the diversity of species we can see. Was the world stocked with most of these species at some point? Were design-mutations prevalent in the past and then switched off? Is the current set of species the design endpoint?

Unless those three questions can be answered clearly, I cannot take ID more seriously than a claim that the moon is made of green cheese -- or one that the moon will spontaneously turn into green cheese in 2050 because of Intelligent Cheesemaking.

Matteo said...

Yeah, I need professional help. Please recommend a good psychiatrist!

If you want to know what the ID movement's answers to your questions are, then read "The Design Revolution" by Dembski. It's all covered in there. If you don't want to know, then don't.