A student of science should be taught the things I …

Comment on LSU Removes Dr. Lee Grismer as Chairman of the Biology Department by Sean Pitman.

A student of science should be taught the things I have tried to articulate many times on this site.

1] Science is about understanding the natural world by natural cause. It says nothing about the supernatural or religion which are not at all based on naturalism.

Science is not limited to discoveries about what mindless natural mechanisms can do. Science can also discover the activities of intelligent agents at play in our world and in our universe. Otherwise, various sciences such as forensics, anthropology, and even SETI would be impossible.

This common appeal to “naturalism” is usually used to rule out an possibility of detecting the activity of God. Such a view is nonsensical given that any God worth His salt would be able to act in a detectable manner – just as detectable as anything an anthropologist or forensic scientist, or even a SETI scientist, would describe as a true artefact of design. The hundreds of discovered fundamental properties of the universe itself are so extremely fine tuned against each other as to strongly suggest purpose and planning behind its design. The very same thing is true of all living things.

2] Science is about testing hyothesis by experimental observation. If you cant construct an experiment it is not within the domain of science.

Exactly! So, where is your experimental support, or even your mathematical support, for the creative potential of random mutations and function-based selection (natural selection) at various levels of functional complexity? You like to propose analogies to “life enzymes” and suggest that RM/NS might not be the only mechanism in play, but where is your evidence? your experimental observation?

It seems to me that you appeal to ignorance with hope that something that is yet unknown will be discovered to prop up your position with some viable mindless naturalistic mechanism. How is this hope for something as yet undiscovered “scientific”?

3] Science is about documenting the experiment and the results in peer reviewed literature. This is the canonical repository of scientific knowledge. It is not all of human knowledge. It is simply a part of human knowledge; generated by a method accepted by its practitioners. It is not a philosophy or a world view and can be and is performed by people of any and all religious and political views. It is open to all but as a participant you are expected to have the decency to acknowledge the existing knowledge as produced in good faith and a basic platform from which to proceed.

As we’ve previously discussed, this platform is not open to all of good faith, but is limited to those who blindly accept the popular philosophical paradigm of mainstream science – i.e., mindless naturalistic explanations for ultimate origins of everything. If you do not subscribe to this paradigm, if you wish to promote the hypothesis of intelligent design to explain anything within a living thing, you simply will not be published in mainstream literature.

Beyond this, good science can be and has been done without publication in mainstream literature. There have been many excellent scientists, as we’ve already discussed, who practiced scientific methodologies largely on their own. You argue that this is the exception and not the rule. Well, the exceptions prove that it can be done and that scientific investigation and good understanding simply is not dependent upon peer review or popular acclaim or approval.

Sean Pitman Also Commented

LSU Removes Dr. Lee Grismer as Chairman of the Biology Department

Im sorry Sean but your whole critique seems to be based on a specious argument on your part.

I said that Science is based on methodological naturalism which means

1] Natural law explanations and not the miraculous are the provenance of science.

Is human-level design “miraculous”? or outside of “natural law”?

Where am I arguing for the “miraculous” any more than a SETI scientist would be arguing for the miraculous when arguing that a certain type of radio signal or granite rock is a true artefact of intelligent design?

2] If you cannot couch the question in terms of an hypothesis with testable natural mechanism it is not science.

I agree. The hypothesis is that only an intelligent designer of some kind (doesn’t have to be a supernatural designer) produced the object or phenomenon in question. That’s it. This hypothesis is testable and potentially falsifiable. All one has to do to effectively falsify this hypothesis is show a mindless natural mechanism producing something similar.

3] Science is circumscribed and limited. There are many questions outside of science and natural mechanism.

Such as? Upon what rational basis does one choose to believe someone or some book who claims to have superhuman powers or origins? This seems to me to be an empirical question that requires empirical evidence and rational arguments. This isn’t a subjective question regarding the meaning of life or if you enjoy vanilla ice cream…

4] Natural mechanism has been successful in understanding the natural world and only the natural world and is likely to be so in the future.

Is a highly symmetrical polished granite cube not within the natural world? Is it not a clear artefact of intelligent design? Is this conclusion not supported by methodological naturalism? Is this conclusion therefore somehow outside of the realm of science?

This you construe to be an argument for a God of the Gap. To sustain that argument however you have to

1] first redefine science and natural mechanism as God an extremely idiosyncratic definition of God but necessary if you are to attribute to me a invocation of God as an explanation for any gaps

Your “god” of the gaps is not a personal god, but mindless nature. You plug in this mindless god into any gap where it is not yet known how any mindless natural process could have done the job. Yet, you argue that some future discovery will explain this current gap in knowledge with a demonstration of how mindless nature actually does it. That is your version of the GoG argument.

The ID-only hypothesis, on the other hand, is not a GoG argument since it is testable and potentially falsifiable. This is not true of your position. Your position is not testable or potentially falsifiable. That is why it can be used to explain anything and everything without any fear of being proved wrong. That is why your argument explains nothing and is not a scientific position.

2] claim that I am arguing that everything that is unknown is within the domain of science or “my God”

No. That’s not my claim at all. What I said is that your argue for a mindless mechanism to explain any and all phenomena even though you don’t currently have such a mechanism in hand. You propose that some future discovery will supply this missing information. This argument of yours is equivalent to a non-testable non-falsifiable GoG argument. It is just that the “god” part of the equation that you’re appealing to here is some kind of mindless natural mechanism – i.e., Nature Herself.

This requires you to attribute to me philosophical naturalism, which you have ,dishonestly I believe, done. Completely ignoring that I have repeatedly and consistently said that natural mechanism is concerned with process in the natural world and nothing more.

What you’ve said is that there is no empirical evidence or rational argument to support the existence of a God or God-like being… that everything within the empirical world, everything, can be explained by mindless naturalistic mechanisms. That notion rationally leads most who take on this position toward philosophical naturalism. Many people simply do not consider fideism as a viable option (but perhaps these are simply too “right brained” to understand).

You have redefined the accepted definition of science to claim I am using it as a universal explanation and redefined science as all possible knowledge and now suggest to George that Intelligent design is right by default unless someone else can prove it wrong.

I never said that ID was “right by default”. The opposite is true. I would assume a mindless mechanism by default when approaching a new phenomenon. However, I would not assume this position once I discovered that the phenomenon in question clear goes well beyond what any known mindless mechanism can explain. If a phenomenon is clearly beyond any known mindless natural mechanism and is within the realm of what known intelligent agents can produce, then the most rational scientific conclusion is that the phenomenon in question is a true artefact of intelligent design.

This is exactly the same argument used by forensic scientists, anthropologists, and even SETI scientists. It would also be your argument if our highly symmetrical granite cube happened to be discovered on an alien planet like Mars.

In comparison, you’re the one claiming that mindless mechanisms of nature are “right be default” – even though you wouldn’t make this claim for a highly symmetrical polished granite cube. You’re simply being inconsistent. And, your position is not testable or potentially falsifiable (i.e., a GoG argument).

Sean Pitman

LSU Removes Dr. Lee Grismer as Chairman of the Biology Department
The GoG argument is one that invokes an explanation that is not tested or testable to explain a given phenomenon. My hypothesis of intelligent design is testable in a potentially falsifiable manner. All one has to do is demonstrate a non-intelligent natural mechanism to explain the phenomenon and my hypothesis is neatly falsified. This is not true of Paul’s position where he argues for some future discovery to explain the phenomenon. That position is not testable or falsifiable. It is therefore a true GoG argument…

See the difference?

Sean Pitman

LSU Removes Dr. Lee Grismer as Chairman of the Biology Department
No. Mindless naturalistic mechanisms can and do explain many things – like the degenerative changes that result in disease and death over time…

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