Common Narrative with ID on MN

@david.heddle Welcome to Peaceful Science!

Watch out for this @AllenWitmerMiller guy, before you know it he will be telling wonderful old stories at you! :wink:


Guilty as charged! (I’m sort of the self-appointed village storyteller—because there’s nothing to stop me from telling yet another “That reminds me of something interesting that happened long ago when …” anecdote. I’m sort of like Woody Allen’s character in the 1983 film, Zelig, the fly on the wall who quietly observed the last half century of American evangelicalism unfold.)


Does he have any other kind? :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: But then I can’t talk – I’m in my anecdotage, not being able to remember to whom I’ve told what story.


When Ken Burns produces his The Story of Peaceful Science documentary film for PBS, I plan to be the Shelby Foote talking head—minus the drawl.


It will be way more cheery than The Civil War. :slightly_smiling_face: (Although I loved the music.)

I for one am very much looking forward to seeing @swamidass wearing a stovepipe hat and addressing the outdoor audience: “There must be a better way—a forum of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

And who wouldn’t want to watch “Chapter Four: Patrick Joins the Forum” while the soulful fiddle of “Ashokan Farewell” provides a haunting embellishment to David McCullough’s stirring narration?


(And Josh @swamidass would be reading from the back of an envelope. :slightly_smiling_face:)

And to interject an educational tidbit into our tangent of mindless but harmless levity, the memorable Abraham Lincoln soundbite “government of the people, by the people, and for the people” actually originates in the preface to John Wycliffe’s English Bible translation:

The Bible is for the government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
— John Wycliffe (1384)


My opinion: MN has a problem with God not because he’s (it is said) intelligent but because he’s not a well-formed hypothesis. There is nothing to expect if the hypothesis is true and nothing to expect if the hypothesis is false. Since anything could be a result of divine action and in fact could be made to resemble any other cause (he’s omnipotent, i.e.), the hypothesis is useless in science. It’s not methodological naturalism, it’s methodological usability. Similarly, “supernatural” seems to mean, if anything, “unable to be studied”.


You’re welcome!

Easily, but I wouldn’t have all of those qualifications–they’re just the well-known ways to get good and relevant evidence. I’m talking about people who know how science is done, but are afraid to do any. We can assess their level of interest and confidence by whether they do those things. They don’t.

It is entirely the latter.

For example, some ID proponents propose that there was some design going on during the Cambrian “explosion,” but they studiously avoid stating this as a hypothesis, because it clearly predicts major discontinuities in the phylogenetic trees (that aren’t there).

Hypotheses that address when and how cannot help but be scientific. The ID proponents lack sufficient faith to test any such hypothesis. Blathering on about “design detection” and “mind is a mechanism” isn’t testing hypotheses.


But if one hypothesizes that God did something specific at a certain time or place, that generates empirical predictions.


Exactly, which is why there are a few religious claims which can in principle be empirically verified, such as the resurrection of Jesus. The only reason why we can’t test that right now is because of lack of access to the relevant historical evidence (i.e. Jesus’ tomb).


But are they predictions different from something happening at such a time and place without God’s action? How can you predict what he would do or how he would do it? One can test whether the world is 6000 years old, but only if one is willing to assume as part of the hypothesis that it wasn’t created to look old.

Not science IMO

I sent you this paper like a year ago btw


That is very kind, thank you.


I don’t know how many times you’ve told us this before … :laughing:


There is a too long response to this thread over at TSZ. It’s not worth reading, in my estimation, but here is the link just for completeness:

I was under the impression that the TSZ’s Gregory and @Greg are different people. Can anyone set me straight about this?

Different people. Not at all the same. TSZ’s Greg is no longer with us here. As is well known, he has many (if not most) his facts wrong in his commentary. Have fun sorting through it if you must :slight_smile:

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No … it’s very clear that no amount of sorting can fix that mess. I might check back in to see how he ignores my question tho. :wink: