Intelligent Design, the best explanation of Origins

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Intelligent design is science

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1 Intelligent design is science on Mon 22 Feb 2016 - 10:32

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Intelligent design is science 1

http://reasonandscience.catsboard.com/t2313-intelligent-design-is-science

Claim: Science is the study of nature on nature’s own terms, and thus cannot study the supernatural. The absence of a transcendent supernatural deity is completely untestable on an empirically scientific level. A transcendent intelligent agency certainly makes sense, but that is empirically testable because the transcendent intelligent agent is not empirical.
Response:
Design can be tested using scientific logic.  How? Upon the logic of mutual exclusion, design and non-design are mutually exclusive (it was one or the other) so we can use eliminative logic: if non-design is highly improbable, then design is highly probable.  Thus, evidence against non-design (against production of a feature by undirected natural process) is evidence for design.  And vice versa. The evaluative status of non-design (and thus design) can be decreased or increased by observable empirical evidence, so a theory of design is empirically responsive and is testable. Based on a logical evaluation of evidence, we can conclude that a design theory is probably true (if all non-design theories seem highly implausible) or is probably false (if any non-design theory seems highly plausible). A design inference does not claim non-design is impossible and design is certain, it only claims that design seems more probable based on scientific evidence and logic. This type of probability-based conclusion is consistent with the logic of science in which proof is always impossible, even though scientists can develop a logically justified confidence in the truth or falsity of a theory.

The scientific methods used in a design investigation are also used in historical sciences like geology, archaeology, evolutionary biology, and astronomy.  Many arguments against design are also arguments against every historical science.  But scientists have developed methods for coping with the limitations of historical data, and historical science can be authentically scientific.

Intelligent Design proposes the idea that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by the deliberate creative act of an intelligent cause.

One of the most common charges that intelligent design (ID) opponents, Advocates of methodological naturalism,  is  that the theory of intelligent design is inherently unscientific.  that ID is not real science. They will say that a real scientific theory must be testable against the empirical world, must make predictions, must be falsifiable, must be explanatory by reference to natural law, and so forth. They point to ID and say that it doesn’t meet all of these criteria, and therefore ID must not be science. But is that true? Are there really criteria that define whether something is science or not science? Well, if you ask philosophers of science (the academic experts on this question), they will tell you that no such criteria exists. Every attempt at formulating an ironclad set of criteria has ended up accidentally excluding what scientists consider to be legitimate scientific fields. There is no set of agreed-upon criteria for separating science from pseudo-science; it just doesn’t exist among philosophers of science. The question of whether something is science or non-science is both intractable and uninteresting. The real issue is not whether a theory is ‘scientific’ according to some abstract definition, but where the scientific evidence leads to, and how it is best explained. In other words, what mechanism explains best X. This procedure is obvious, but the attempt at demarcating between science and non-science is a favorite way and artifact of ID opponents. By calling ID non-scientific, they never to examine if the proposed causal mechanism is more compelling than theirs.


Intelligent design is not science, and cannot be tested.

The main tenet relies on the claim that events that occurred in the past cannot be directly verified. Philosophers of science draw a distinction between

1. research directed towards identifying laws
2. research which seeks to determine how particular historical events occurred

These are indeed two different questions.  

Archeology: Is that rock formation natural or due to intelligent design?
Anthropology: Do sharp, pointed rocks occur naturally or are they designed by intelligent beings?
Forensics: Intelligent cause of death or natural circumstances?
SETI: Are those radio signals natural or caused by intelligent beings?

Just before Thanksgiving a friend e-mailed me because his daughter was about to give a presentation on whether intelligent design is science. She was looking for resources on the topic to read over the holiday. Thanksgiving is now behind us, but this reading list should still be useful to readers interested in the question of ID as science. Here's an updated and expanded version of my reply:

First, I can outline how we know ID is science. We know ID is science because it uses the scientific method to make its claims.
The scientific method is commonly described as a four-step process involvingobservations, hypothesis, experiments, and conclusion. ID begins with theobservation that intelligent agents produce complex and specified information (CSI). Design theorists hypothesize that if a natural object was designed, it will contain high levels of CSI. Scientists then performexperimental tests upon natural objects to determine if they contain complex and specified information. One easily testable form of CSI is irreducible complexity, which can be tested and discovered by experimentally reverse-engineering biological structures through genetic knockout experiments. The purpose is to determine if they require all of their parts to function. When experimental researchers uncover irreducible complexity in biology, theyconclude that such structures were designed. For some nice, easy articles that further discuss why ID is science, please see any of the following links:
Now some who are more philosophically inclined might object that philosophers can't define science, so we can't know that ID is science. It is true that philosophers have long debated the precise definition of science. In fact, current trends in philosophy of science eschew the use of demarcation criteria to distinguish between science and non-science. Larry Laudan comments on the consensus of this field:

[T]here is no demarcation line between science and non-science, or between science and pseudo-science, which would win assent from a majority of philosophers.
(Larry Laudan, Beyond Positivism and Relativism: Theory, Method, and Evidence, p. 210 (Westview Press 1996).)

As an initial response, I would point out that if we can't say ID is science, then we also can't definitely say ID isn't science. Still, I believe it is possible to show that ID qualifies as science. While the precise definition of science may be unclear, most would agree there are certain qualities that clearly place some ideas on the side of science. One of those qualities is the scientific method. If an idea uses the scientific method, most would agree that it is scientific.



Second, a main source cited by ID-critics on this question is the Kitzmiller v. Dover ruling. If you aren't familiar with it, the Kitzmiller v. Dover case was the first -- and to date the only -- lawsuit to assess the constitutionality of teaching ID in public schools. Unfortunately the judge in that case found ID was not science, that it was religion, and he ruled ID is unconstitutional to teach in public schools. But he could only make that ruling by getting numerous things wrong, including defining ID incorrectly, and completely ignoring the evidence of pro-ID peer-reviewed scientific papers that were submitted to him during the trial. We wrote a law review article -- a pretty strong one in my opinion -- responding to the judge's ruling in the case. Our article addresses, in some detail, why ID is science. You might wish to skip past some of the technical legal analysis, but I think that overall, the article is very readable by anyone, even if you're not a legal scholar. Titled "Intelligent Design Will Survive Kitzmiller v. Dover," it can be found free online. See especially Part VI, "Error #3: Dismissing the Scientific Case for Design."
Third, Michael Behe also wrote a response to the Dover ruling titled "Whether Intelligent Design is Science?" It's a good resource too, and is free online.
Fourth, I wrote a lay-level article on this issue a couple years ago on the merits of ID, which got posted on the website OpposingViews.com. The article is titled "ID is Constitutional and Has Educational and Legal Merit" (also free online). That article explains, in more basic terms, some the reasons that we know ID is science, and also responds to common objections.
Finally, regarding the issue of ID and peer-reviewed scientific papers, you should be aware that ID proponents have published many peer-reviewed scientific papers. Nonetheless, it's not necessary to be published in peer-reviewed papers to be scientific. For details, please see the following two links:
I hope this helps!




Two other great resources I neglected to mention are Stephen Meyer's bookSignature in the Cell--especially chapters 18 and 19 where he addresses whether ID is science, as well as Meyer's chapter in the book Nature of Nature, "Sauce for the Goose: Intelligent Design, Scientific Methodology, and the Demarcation Problem."

1. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/11/why_intelligent1066741.html
2. https://www.asa3.org/ASA/education/origins/design-cr.htm



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2 Re: Intelligent design is science on Sat 27 Feb 2016 - 0:15

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DEFINE AND DISMISS: DEMARCATION ARGUMENTS AGAINST INTELLIGENT DESIGN


The rejection of demarcation arguments among philosophers of science has not stopped critics of intelligent design from attempting to settle debates about biological origins by the expedient of formulating such arguments against intelligent design. Some use these arguments to justify methodological naturalism (which has the same effect). 

Advocates of methodological naturalism have argued that the theory of intelligent design is inherently unscientific for some, or all, of the following reasons: 

(a) is not testable, 
(b) is not falsifiable 
(c) does not make predictions
(d) does not describe repeatable phenomena
(e) does not explain by reference to natural law
(f) does not cite a mechanism
(g) does not make tentative claims and 
(h) has no problem-solving capability.

 They have also claimed that it is not science because it (i) refers to an unobservable entity.28 These critics also assume, imply, or assert that materialistic evolutionary theories do meet such criteria of proper scientific method. Readers may wish to consult Signature in the Cell for a more detailed response to these specific arguments. There I show that many of these claims are simply false (e.g., contrary to the claims of its critics intelligent design is testable; it does make predictions; it does formulate its claims tentatively; and it does have scientific problem-solving capability). But I also show that when the claims of those making demarcation arguments are true—when intelligent design doesn’t meet a specific criterion— that fact does not provide good reason for excluding intelligent design from consideration as a scientific theory. Why? Because the materialistic evolutionary theories that intelligent design challenges, theories widely regarded by convention as “scientific,” fail to meet the very same demarcation standard. In other words, there is no defensible definition of science, and no specific demarcation criterion, that justifies both excluding intelligent design from science and including competing materialistic evolutionary theories. Instead, attempts to use demarcation criteria specifically to disqualify intelligent design as a scientific theory have repeatedly failed to differentiate the scientific status of intelligent design from that of competing theories. Depending upon which criteria are used to adjudicate their scientific status, and provided metaphysically neutral criteria are selected to make such assessments, intelligent design and materialistic origins theories invariably prove equally scientific or unscientific. For example, some critics of intelligent design have argued that it fails to qualify as a scientific theory because it makes reference to an unseen or unobservable entity, namely, a designing mind in the remote past. Yet many accepted theories—theories assumed to be scientific—postulate unobservable events and entities. Physicists postulate forces, fields, and quarks; biochemists infer submicroscopic structures; psychologists discuss their patients’ mental states. Evolutionary biologists themselves infer unobserved past mutations and invoke the existence of extinct organisms and transitional forms for which no fossils remain. Such things, like the actions of an intelligent designer, are inferred from observable evidence in the present, because of the explanatory power they may offer. If the demarcation criterion of observability is applied rigidly, then both intelligent design and materialistic theories of evolution fail to qualify as scientific. If the standard is applied more liberally (or realistically)—acknowledging the way in which historical scientific theories often infer unobservable past events, causes, or entities—then both theories qualify as scientific. And so it goes with other such criteria as well. There is no specific (non-question-begging) demarcation criterion that succeeds in disqualifying the theory of intelligent design from consideration as a scientific theory without also doing the same to its materialistic rivals.

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3 Re: Intelligent design is science on Sat 7 Jul 2018 - 2:26

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Intelligent design is science

http://reasonandscience.catsboard.com/t2313-intelligent-design-is-science

S.Meyer, Darwins doubt: What we really want to know is whether a theory is true or false, supported by the evidence or not, worthy of our belief or not. And we cannot decide those questions by applying a set of abstract criteria that purport to tell in advance what all good scientific theories must look like.

Design can be tested using scientific logic.  How? Upon the logic of mutual exclusion, design and non-design are mutually exclusive (it was one or the other) so we can use eliminative logic: if non-design is highly improbable, then design is highly probable.  Thus, evidence against non-design (against production of a feature by undirected natural process) is evidence for design.  And vice versa. The evaluative status of non-design (and thus design) can be decreased or increased by observable empirical evidence, so a theory of design is empirically responsive and is testable. Based on a logical evaluation of evidence, we can conclude that a design theory is probably true (if all non-design theories seem highly implausible) or is probably false (if any non-design theory seems highly plausible). A design inference does not claim non-design is impossible and design is certain, it only claims that design seems more probable based on scientific evidence and logic. This type of probability-based conclusion is consistent with the logic of science in which proof is always impossible, even though scientists can develop a logically justified confidence in the truth or falsity of a theory.

The scientific methods used in a design investigation are also used in historical sciences like geology, archaeology, evolutionary biology, and astronomy.  Many arguments against design are also arguments against every historical science.  But scientists have developed methods for coping with the limitations of historical data, and historical science can be authentically scientific.

Intelligent Design proposes the idea that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by the deliberate creative act of an intelligent cause.

One of the most common charges that intelligent design (ID) opponents, Advocates of methodological naturalism, is that the theory of intelligent design is inherently unscientific.  that ID is not real science. They will say that a real scientific theory must be testable against the empirical world, must make predictions, must be falsifiable, must be explanatory by reference to natural law, and so forth. They point to ID and say that it doesn’t meet all of these criteria, and therefore ID must not be science. But is that true? Are there really criteria that define whether something is science or not science? Well, if you ask philosophers of science (the academic experts on this question), they will tell you that no such criteria exist. Every attempt at formulating an ironclad set of criteria has ended up accidentally excluding what scientists consider to be legitimate scientific fields. There is no set of agreed-upon criteria for separating science from pseudo-science; it just doesn’t exist among philosophers of science. The question of whether something is science or non-science is both intractable and uninteresting. The real issue is not whether a theory is ‘scientific’ according to some abstract definition, but where the scientific evidence leads to, and how it is best explained. In other words, what mechanism explains best X. This procedure is obvious, but the attempt at demarcating between science and non-science is a favorite way and artifact of ID opponents. By calling ID non-scientific, they never to examine if the proposed causal mechanism is more compelling than theirs.

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4 Re: Intelligent design is science on Wed 18 Jul 2018 - 18:53

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Creationism should be the default position in regards of origins

When it comes to the inquiry about origins and causal mechanisms/agencies to explain our existence, in my view, intelligence should be the default position, rather than naturalism and any non-intelligent causal mechanism. An intelligent agency makes sense because, in our daily experience, we observe intelligence to cause new things to happen and to create things that did not exist previously. Intelligence can act towards achieving specific goals, and describe how things should be done, and implement these projects. Intelligence knows how to create codified language, and how to use that language to create blueprints, used to make complex machines and factories. It can finely tune and arrange things to work in a precise fashion. it can shape and form parts that perform tasks by interacting like lock and key.

None of all this has been observed to be achieved by any alternative non-intelligent mechanism. Nobody in its sane mind would defend and advocate that computers, hardware, software, a language using signs and codes like the alphabet, an instructional blueprint, complex machines, factory assembly lines, error check and repair systems, recycling methods, waste grinders and management, power generating plants, power turbines, and electric circuits could emerge randomly, by unguided, accidental events. That is, however, the ONLY causal alternative, once intelligent planning, invention, design, and implementation are excluded, to explain the origin of biological Cells, which are literally miniaturized, ultracomplex, molecular, self-replicating factories. For that reason, if anyone wants to propose any alternative to replace intelligence, it should meet the burden of proof, and falsify the claim based on empirical experience and falsifiable testing. For that reason, Intelligent design should be in my view the status quo, the default position in regards of origins.

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