Friday, April 18, 2008


IDing Science

The Federation of American Scientists' Strategic Security Blog has a piece on Expelled by Ivan Oelrich that is well worth reading.

Wolfgang Pauli is a legendary figure among physicists. He is remembered for having both one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century and one of its sharpest tongues. One student's paper he dismissed by saying: That's not right; it isn't even wrong. (Or words to that effect in German; Pauli was Viennese.) If a theory isn't relevant to the facts at hand, if it can't be tested, if it doesn't advance our understanding, then it isn't that the theory is not right, it's not even really a theory, it isn't even wrong. It simply isn't a tool for scientific understanding. ... Creationism isn't even wrong because creationism can't explain anything in the sense that science understands the word "explain." Most advocates of creationism accept that evolution works at some scale and explains some things but for anything evolution does not explain they then assert that God, the Intelligent Designer, simply made it so. This is a valid religious belief. But what is the testable hypothesis? What is the prediction? What is the deeper understanding of mechanism? There isn't anything there for a scientist to grab hold of. As far as science is concerned, creationism isn't even wrong.
On the claim that ID is being unfairly excluded by the "scientific orthodoxy" of "Big Science":

Nothing will win you a Nobel Prize faster than explaining to everyone that everything they thought was true is wrong. Ideas that energy is quantized, that time can run at different speeds in different frames of reference, that light might be bent by gravity, all of these things upset the established view of the time of how the universe is put together. Just a few years ago, astronomers discovered that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate. Surprise! This discovery sent theorists running back to the drawing boards. And they love running back to the drawing boards. That is the sort of thing that makes reputations, gets you tenure, and wins you prizes. Other fields have similar stories: in geology, the idea of plate tectonics, that the continents moved around, was considered revolutionary.
The things that ID proponents need to get scientific respect are the very things they lack: a theory and evidence.

Ah, yes, in a nutshell: this is why they've had to resort to conspiracy theories, scaremongering and politics.
Without distortion, misdirection and hyperbole, they wouldn't have an argument at all.
Truer words have never been spoken, sir.

Is it just me, or have these sorts of folks seemed to develop a pathological aversion to the truth?
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