Intelligent Design

For all those who assume a special significance in the Cosmos, science can be really annoying. For the rest of us, science is a huge part of what we are. Although we are not always conscious of it, our lives are filled with the science! When pressed however, most of us respond with something like "oh, yeah;science is good...I guess." That's understandable, but also wildly inaccurate.

Science is not "good," and science is not "bad." Science is decidedly ambivalent. It cares not a whit for feelings or predispositions. Science is science: a system which allows us to acquire knowledge.

There's no need to run down the complete list of spectacular explosions science has unleashed upon us, from Hiroshima and Nagasaki through the space shuttles. Everyone knows they were awful. But the science that created them was neutral.

The thing about science is well...sometimes it explodes.

This is usually regarded as a bad thing - at least by some folks, (mostly folks who happen to be nearby). The explosions always get a lot of press. By contrast, when things go right as they often do, and we learn something fundamental about ourselves and our place in the universe, the silence of popular media can be deafening.

We usually learn things either way, even when things explode. But the media tends to focus on the explosions.

WHY WE NEED SCIENCE

Being smart is good. We need to raise a crop of kids who are challenged by the world. Kids who will grow into adulthood finding solutions to the problems we couldn't solve, problems we don't even know about yet. Education is the key.

We need great teachers! We need to inspire our children to enjoy knowledge for its own sake. We have some great teachers, most of whom find themselves constricted by administrative and political functionality issues. We need to free them from formulas, and initiatives. We need more teachers! But not more gym teachers teaching science, we need to train young teachers in The Realities, like "The Humanities," The Realities deal with a subset of accepted scientific disciplines; things that are real. This excludes a number of "softer sciences." By far the softest of them all is Theology: the study of that which does not exist, and what it wants. My personal favorite fantasy science is of course Creation Science.

Insipid puffery such as Creation Science, and its deeply inbred cousin Intelligent Design, may someday hold value as examples of historical belief systems in the dark days of our collective adolescence, though they are of no value today. In the following I will look at some of the things held out as "proof" by the ID squad, attempt to weigh the evidence, and hopefully draw a few conclusions.

I will be looking at statements Nobel Prize laureates have made regarding intelligent design. These statements are often raised by creationists who seek to bolster their claims of legitimacy. In examining these statements, as well as any of their peer reviewed papers on the matter, I hope to -if not put to rest- at least offer the option of critical thought to all those who cherish their ignorance and beliefs.

I have sourced the information from Uncommon Descent. Please follow the link provided to review the original material.

BELIEFS ARE NOT FACTS!

Dr Brian Josephson was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for his work on superconductivity and quantum tunnelling. His current position as director of The Mind Matter Unification Project at Cambridge. One of his guiding principles has been the scientists motto: take nobody's word for it. Strangely though, when it comes to a discussion about the potential veracity of the Intelligent Design thesis, he seems to expect his audience to disregard this one critical standard, and just take his word for it.

What follows is an excerpt from an interview originally posted by vjtoley for Uncommon Descent, posted: April 7, 2012, in which Dr. Josephson's name is raised to imply a basis which simply does not exist, in support of a position, with no scientific merit..

INTERVIEWER:

"I put it to you that the example of Dr. Brian Josephson utterly refutes your claim that teaching Intelligent Design is tantamount to teaching religion, and that Intelligent Design requires you to believe in a supernatural Being who periodically intervenes in the cosmos. Josephson is not religious, and he doesn’t believe in a supernatural being; all he believes in is some sort of mind (or minds) outside our cosmos."

This is a common diversionary tactic used by Creationists. The idea is to get the argument to the point of accepting a "Designing intelligence" without involving any religious references, but at the end of the argument it is always "YAHWEH" that gets the nod as the obvious designer.

I don't know who the person being referred to as having made the claim that teaching ID is tantamount to teaching religion. But this issue has been debated time and time again before the courts and the ID/Creationists have never won a case.

How can you have a designer who is outside of space and time, but not supernatural. Supernatural means literally outside of nature.

QUOTES:

"Current physics implicitly assumes matter is fundamental, life and mentality being secondary. There are reasons for thinking that such a picture may be incomplete, leading to error. This lecture describes a new conceptual foundation that reverses the order of things, making life and mentality more basic than matter."

Current physics does not implicitly assume anything! Creationists have this annoying habit of stating something that is patently false, then using the falsehood as the base from which to construct their argument. It is disingenuous and transparent.

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There has never been a time, and there probably never will be a time, when our understanding of anything as complex as the Cosmos is complete. Nonetheless, our understanding grows most days. We depend on our evolving understanding of the physical universe every time we make a call on our smartphones, every time we drive our cars, every time we surf the web or microwave a snack. If our current understanding of the universe was as far off as this piece tries to suggest, our civilization could not exist.

Life is not secondary; it is an emergent property of the cosmos. The thing about emergent properties is they have to emerge from something. This does not make them secondary in any other context than temporally. The writer/speaker is creating a measuring scale of his own to support his own system of rating. Again he is attempting to establish a falsehood upon which to construct his argument.

By trying to frame his thesis that reversing a system of rating on a scale he created is on a par with opening up a new frontier of scientific investigation the speaker is building a house of cards.. A few examples of discoveries that have actually opened up new frontiers are: the Germ Theory of Disease, the DNA molecule, cosmic expansion, E=mc2 etc. The speaker has stated a thesis, he has offered no evidence to support his thesis, has not even attempted to offer for consideration any thoughts at all on how his thesis could be supported by any existing data. His entire thesis could be replaced with the phrase "what if pigs could fly" after which he would expound with wit and charm on the major changes in store for the aviation industry.

"You could say what I’ve been proposing is an extension of science because mind has been added, a whole new thing is added into the picture, and some ideas as to how to handle it, but they’re not the usual equations, they’re rather complicated ideas like attractors and information processors, and of course quantum theory regards information as fundamental as well, so there may be lots of links with conventional science. Well that would lead I think to taboo ideas becoming a part of science, not a respectable part, but a reluctantly accepted part, because they would come nicely out of this picture, so I guess I’ll kind of list them here."

You could also say that bell bottom jeans are a timeless fashion statement, but you would be as inaccurate as the speaker. Has the fellow never heard of philosophy or neuroscience. Is he new? He states that "they" are not the usual equations, while offering no equations at all. Instead he tries to conflate "ideas" with the aforementioned equations implying they are scientifically equivalent.

"So I said at some point this theory looks a bit like theology, and I can imagine intelligent design is real. Intelligent Design is rejected just because it’s part of the scientific culture that it cannot be true, you must not talk about it, but it’s not actually disproved. I think it will turn out that there is a design and that the usual theories are wrong there as well."

So I said at this point Whales look a bit like fish, and I can imagine that whales are fish. My theory that whales are indeed fish is rejected just because it's part of scientific culture that this cannot be true, you must not talk about it. It's not actually disproved. I think it will turn out that whales are fish and the usual theories are wrong there as well.

I think not Dr. Josephson

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