Are Untestable Statements Necessarily "Bad Science"?


You should take up your complaints with @swamidass.

I have no complaints to take to @swamidass. I merely point out PS is not a theist forum for theistic views. PS is a science based forum with people who have a wide range of views on just about anything.



If it isn’t a Theist Forum … where exactly do you direct people who want to talk about de novo creation of Adam and Eve and how it CAN be reconciled with the views of scientists?

Their local church, synagogue, or mosque if they are religious, or the local library if they want to learn the latest results in science.

I see @Mercer as making a point, that science doesn’t actually prove anything. But what’s missing is that the meaning of “prove” also depends on context.

There’s proof in mathematics and logic, which brings certainty (mathematical certainty, logical certainty). And then there’s proof as in “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”. That’s empirical proof. It can be satisfying and reassuring, but it does not have the certainty of mathematical proof.

Perhaps a better way to describe it is that E=mc^2 is derived from first principles. I think that is how it is described in physics.

Yes . . . and no. For example, if species or kinds were independently created by a designer then we would not expect to see those specially created kinds to fall into a nested hierarchy, unless the designer is trying to trick us into believing in evolution. That’s been one of the longest held criticisms against intelligent design going back to Darwin’s time.


You are being silly.

This is not an ID assertion. The argument is that the current evolutionary mechanisms proposed are not likely capable of overcoming the large probabilistic barriers. As a result a new mechanism is proposed.


You can argue that ID is not about God… but until more I.D. folks start writing about alien intelligences visiting Earth, you can understand that nobody takes that “tweak” seriously.

To prove God’s Design is not even slightly easier than proving God’s (any God’s) existence.

When’s the last time you cracked open a Philosophy 101 book?

Sorry Bill but ID-Creationism hasn’t identified any " large probabilistic barriers" evolution needed to overcome. Every last attempt by the ID-Creationists to calculate actual probabilities ends up being worthless because of the sharpshooter fallacy. They always calculate the probability of one specific result, not the probability of there being any working result.

We know you know that. The question is why do IDCers still make the same fallacious “it’s too improbable” claims?


A lot of people understand the argument. Others misrepresent it. You are not making real counter arguments but simply creating straw-man arguments. How many times do you have to be told the identity of the designer is not part of the ID argument. That is a different argument. Whether the arguments carry ideological implications is irrelevant so there is no need to appeal the Philosophy 101.

You again misuse the word prove as all arguments are tentative or contain assumptions.

How many times do you have to be told the “The Designer doesn’t have to be the Christian God” claim was just a dishonest ruse by the DI to get around the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment Establishment Clause? It didn’t work.

The game is up Bill. It’s been up since the DI’s “Wedge Document” was leaked. There’s no point continuing with the “IDC doesn’t say who the Designer was” facade because everyone knows it was just a strategically motivated lie.


It is entirely rational to insist that the identity of the designer is integral to the ID argument, and that the assertions of ID are only sensible in the context of a theistic worldview. Permission need not be granted in order to reject the ID limitation.

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It may be rational to try and invoke this discussion and there are people who will engage but against Behe’s argument it is a logical fallacy (straw-man fallacy) as it is an attempt to change the argument.

Invoking logical fallacies against Behe’s arguments is nothing new but I usually discount this type of argument as it is outside the scope of proper philosophical discourse. This argument style (use of logical fallacies) is common in politics but is rarely persuasive to me.

Hey Bill, what Behe and the other DI charlatans did in effect was paint DOG on this animal.

Did the paint job change the species of animal it is? Should the DI be allowed to enter this animal in the Westminster Kennel Show?


Another rare moment of candor from a defender of ID Creationism: That ID is based on nothing more than denial of evoution, with no positive evidence in its favour.

Bill does err, however, in saying that a “new mechanism” is proposed. We’ve been bugging him for ages to detail the mechanism suggested by ID. No luck.

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True, but in assemling and characterizing a novel genome, are you making an untestable claim or statement? No, you’re essentially just setting up conditions that allow you to make observations. You are in effect trying to observe something. To observe that genome. That’s not making a statement or claim. What are you claiming or stating? You aren’t doing that. To the extend that you are making any implicit claim by doing observation (one might say you are implicitly claiming there is something to be observed), that claim IS testable. The results of your observations will be a test of that claim.

So I maintain that untestable claims/statements are bad science. The fact that one can do science without making (explicit) claims or statements, by “merely” doing observation and data collection, isn’t bad science. But they’re also not “untestable claims”.

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I think that’s reasonable. Note that my comment was not actually intended to be a reply not to your OP but to a comment by @RonSewell, but either I or the software failed to make that explicit.

Ah no I understood that, don’t worry about it. I just felt like commenting on the distinction between hypothesis testing and naive data collection and your post provided a nice opportunity.

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To this forum, where people discuss that topic, among others.

It is not necessary to be a theist in order to discuss that topic, or indeed any other topic. Nor is it possible to fruitfully discuss how something CAN be done without ever referring to how it CANNOT.

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