Tuesday, April 22, 2014
I Rather Like This
He knew it wasn't much use:
Debates are curious events. They masquerade as intellectual contests, but are really just showcases for rhetorical cleverness and public charisma.But I like Giberson's approach. After noting ID luminaries, such as Paul Nelson and Phillip Johnson have admitted that ID has no theory of how ID works, he says:
The absence of a clear and well-articulated theory is disastrous for ID, and excludes it from scientific consideration, because it makes it impossible to put any observations in context as evidence either for or against the theory. I made this rather complex point with a photo of the lake in front of my vacation home. A photo is an "observation," of course. But a photo is not automatically "evidence." A theoretical claim that can be tested with a photo must be present before a photo becomes evidence. My photo could be used as evidence, for example, to determine if 1) the water was higher than last week or 2) the winter ice was gone 3) the boat race was on some other lake or 4) if aliens were waterskiing that day. But, until you advance some relevant theoretical claim a photo is just a photo—it is not "evidence."Darwin knew this:
The many interesting examples that dominate the ID discussion—the little tail on the bacterium, our eyes or our blood-clotting mechanism, the explosion of new life-forms in the Cambrian period—are just snapshots of things in nature. They are not "evidence" for anything and won't be until the ID theorists develop a theory of how their "designer" works. Once they provide a well-articulated version of their central claim, we can decide whether or not our eyes—or our tails— support their theory.
About thirty years ago there was much talk that geologists ought only to observe and not theorise; and I well remember some one saying that at this rate a man might as well go into a gravel-pit and count the pebbles and describe the colours. How odd it is that anyone should not see that all observation must be for or against some view if it is to be of any service!But Meyer dodged the issue:
I mentioned in the debate that I thought this difficulty—acknowledged as it was by other ID theorists—was the deepest and most interesting challenge facing ID. But Meyer assured me that this is no longer an issue and that they now had a theory, although whatever it is appears to remain a well-kept secret. I objected that, as a physicist with a Ph.D who had studied some real theories—quantum mechanics, classical mechanics, electromagnetism—ID did not remotely resemble any other theory in the natural sciences and was thus hard to see how it might work. The response was that ID was under no obligation to satisfy the expectations of the scientific community for what a theory should look like.In other words, "We don't need no stinkin' science!"
There is more in Giberson's article you should read, including how the DI declared victory based on the fact that Giberson used examples understandable to lay people, while Meyer baffled them with bullshit. But I thought Giberson's example of why theory is needed in science was very cogent.
If they want the scientific respectability they clearly crave, oh, yes, they are.
There are signs that the IDiots from Seattle have given up. When criticizing DeGrasse Tyson and Cosmos they have complained more than once that god and religion are absent.
-The response was that ID was under no obligation to satisfy the expectations of the scientific community for what a theory should look like.
I do not think Giberson is being honest here. See the debate.-
You mean like Behe here?:
My explanation is just a sketchy overview of the biochemistry of vision. Ultimately, though, this is what it means to "explain" vision. This is the level of explanation for which biological science must aim. In order to truly understand a function, one must understand in detail every relevant step in the process. The relevant steps in biological processes occur ultimately at the molecular level, so a satisfactory explanation of a biological phenomenon such as vision, or digestion, or immunity must include its molecular explanation.
Now that the black box of vision has been opened it is no longer enough for an "evolutionary explanation" of that power to consider only the anatomical structures of whole eyes, as Darwin did in the nineteenth century, and as popularizers of evolution continue to do today. Each of the anatomical steps and structures that Darwin thought were so simple actually involves staggeringly complicated biochemical processes that cannot be papered over with rhetoric. Darwin's simple steps are now revealed to be huge leaps between carefully tailored machines. Thus biochemistry offers a Lilliputian challenge to Darwin. Now the black box of the cell has been opened and a Lilliputian world of staggering complexity stands revealed. It must be explained.
I do not think Giberson is being honest here. See the debate.
Do you have an url for a video? I looked for one but could not find it.
I am no advocate for ID but Meyer made Giberson look like a fool here.
Says who? By what measure? A vote by the audience? If it's been packed with supporters of one side or the other what does that prove?
This seems to be a standard tactic for opponents of ID, debate - lose - go to the press and complain.
I'm inclined to agree - up to a point. I've seen debates where the pro-evolution speaker has not put up a very impressive performance at all. The key word here is "performance". Public debates are an entertainment sport pure and simple and you're a fool if you go into one expecting anything else. If you're going up against William Lane Craig, for example, you'd better be well-prepared. The man is a very-effective and highly-experienced public speaker. Being able to dissect his arguments with surgical precision on paper cuts no ice with an audience that is expecting verbal fireworks.
So, yes, going into a debate ill-prepared is just dumb. So is complaining afterwards about getting the worst of it.
Its long, 2+ hours but I watched it all. Only a partisan could think that Meyer made Giberson look like a fool here. He was calm and made points that even Meyer had to acknowledge.
As to the issue of whether Meyer claimed that ID was under no obligation to satisfy the expectations of the scientific community for what a theory should look like, he didn't say that in so many words. However, this is the way it went:
The arguments in the Q&A session run over each other somewhat, so that it isn't easy to summarize, but when Giberson points out that ID uses analogies instead of more rigorous evidence, such as found in quantum mechanics, Meyers says "You want a materialistic explanation" and admits that he is claiming that "information" is a "non-material source" [1:53].
While Meyer claims that ID has a mathematical basis (no doubt the much debunked "specified complexity"), he ignores that all his examples of this "non-material source" are human beings. Gee, I didn't know that humans aren't material ... if we aren't, why do material things like bullets and knives effect us? Oh, wait a minute, Meyer is assuming that intelligence is "non-material" and therefore that information is non-material and the "designer" must be non-material. Circular much?
But then Meyer responds: "So you are never going to be satisfied ... you're not going to get atoms bumping around in the manner of physics ..."
Giberson says the ID argument is in the form of such illicit analogies that explain nothing and Meyer "explains" that "You presume that we have a burden of proof to satisfy you and I want to turn the tables and say I don't think you've satisfied me" on Meyers objections, which are supported by no theory. Meyer goes on to say "It's two different points of view ... we have no obligation to make you happy ..."
Taken as a whole in context of the argument, it is clear that Giberson is right. Meyer feels that there is no need to propose a "theory" of ID ... he thinks it is sufficient to raise objections to the theory of evolution and that alone is enough that Christians need not embrace Darwin.