George and Induction in Science

I’m not sure what you mean by boycotting them, but I am not suggesting they be ignored. Just that they not be treated with any more respect or seriousness than we give flat-earthers. Or YEC’s, for that matter.

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For years our objections have been hopelessly and spectacularly generic. We sound WEAK.

Speak for yourself.



Typical atheist presumption regarding how convincing your position SOUNDS.

Okay. Try to tell me what “my position” is. Impress me.

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Isn’t it fair to say that induction will only get you halfway? Inductive reasoning can be rather good at generating hypotheses, because once you have drawn a (provisional) conclusion from your induction you can then deduct entailments and so identify observations that may confirm or falsify your conclusion. It is this second step that is generally missing in the ID argumentation, and I’m not even sure that they realise it is an essential part of what makes this type of reasoning scientific. Witness a 100+ post thread asking for ID hypotheses without a single one being offered.


You really are fairly “steeped” in arguing, aren’t cha?

I said to @Faizal_Ali that making no special discussion dismissing the relative value of Inductive reasoning leaves us sounding weak and unconvincing. [[ We end up saying things like “Well, that’s not how science works.” and then change the subject.]]

In response, YOU said "Speak for yourself… implying that you think your responses have historically been much more convincing.

This view is not only lacking in humility, it is also not true. I.D. proponents, and even people curious about I.D. haven’t found anything you’ve said to be particularly compelling.

In contrast, @Dan_Eastwood has just contributed to these discussions with this posting [click to see his cartoon!]:


If you think you have a winning counter-argument, pitch it again here (or on the thread that has Eastwood’s posting)… and we can compare.

I don’t know what you mean to suggest. What happens is I read some posts, I see something I feel like commenting on, and then I do so. You made a blanket statement that “our position” “sounds WEAK”. I presume you meant there have been no good responses to what you have been speaking about in this thread: Behe’s use of inductive generalizations in making arguments for ID.

I happen to think your attacks on inductive generalizations are weak. In fact not just weak, completely ineffective. As in false, useless, and of no rational or discursive value. Whether factual or rhetorical.
My suggestion to you is to completely drop your attack on inductive generalizations from this point on, and never bring it up again as a putative criticism of any pro-ID argument. You sound almost like a madman. Like somebody who knows next to nothing, sort of heard about the problem of induction in passing, and now thinks he’s found the penultimate argument against ID. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

You pay lip service to acknowledging the idea that science doesn’t produce definitive conclusions, then immediately turn around and criticize scientific arguments based on inductive generalizations because they aren’t definitive. Thus revealing that you have absolutely zero clue what’s going on.

So let me get this straight. You think the best argument against Behe’s use of inductive generalizations is to bring up the problem of induction, as if that somehow crucially undermines the usage of inductive reasoning in science. Someone responds to your attack on inductive reasoning by saying that is how science works, and you think it sounds weak.

Weak to whom? It can only be you, because an ID proponent will see that we are actually defending Behe’s use of inductive reasoning as not being inherently unscientific. Because inductive reasoning really is used in science.

Notice that we aren’t talking about responses to ID arguments. YOU are the one making a BAD response to an ID argument, by attacking it on the basis that it uses inductive reasoning. But that isn’t a flaw in the argument. Hence it is YOUR response to the ID argument that is ineffective. I have already explained to you what the REAL problem with Behe’s inductive generalization is. You don’t find that convincing? Okay, I don’t care. I have no control over what you happen to find convincing. The fact of the matter is there is logically speaking no stronger argument against another than to point out it commits a fallacy. If that isn’t enough for you then I simply have to wonder what you think a good argument is supposed to do. Make you cry? Good luck with that.

My responses to what? Your attacks on inductive reasoning? You don’t find my responses to those to be convincing? Good for you.

Anything I’ve said about what? And who did you poll to arrive at this conclusion?

Against what? Your fantastically ignorant and misguided attacks on induction?

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I’ve already proposed as much as my education allows… If you don’t understand what I’m trying to explain, then obviously you will have to wait (along with me) until someone crafts some better terminologies.

@Dan_Eastwood has contributed some good insights.


Man, you spin so fast.

Help me (and who knows how many other readers). Are you trying to DEFEND Inductive Reasoning?

Or are you in agreement that Inductive Reasoning used by Behe is a dead-end for I.D.?

Ahhhh… here we are… so you ARE defending Inductive Reasoning! Don’t you see how counter-productive you are being?

Yes. Inductive reasoning is fine in science.

In what endeavor am I being counter-productive?


Give me an example of the best use of Inductive Reasoning to DEFEND a scientific conclusion?

[[ I’m not talking about using it for developing hypotheses. ]]

Try this one: We can infer that the fossil of an organism with sharp pointy teeth is most likely to be a predator, because almost all other organisms examined with sharp pointy teeth were predators.

That’s a perfectly reasonable, normal, and straightforward use of inductive reasoning in science.


Thank you for this fine example. And let me go on record to say that I am not opposed to using Inductive reasoning. I am attempting to demonstrate that Inductive Reasoning is not as persuasive as other forms of reasoning.

Teleological proofs of God are also interesting to discuss… but they are not considered actual proofs.

And we both know that this Inductive statement you provide is not proof that if we find a fossil with pointy teeth, it doesn’t prove that it is a predator.

So, how is this different from deductions that we can make about photosynthesis, or the deductions we can make about recessive Sickle Cell traits that are beneficial at the level of a population, but at the level of the individual?

It is rare that we have complete knowledge of anything in the universe. If we didn’t use inductive reasoning then we would be seriously crippling ourselves, IMHO. If we limited ourselves to only the conclusions we could absolutely prove, where would we be right now? Would we still be in the Stone Age?

Unless we can test every single person with complete thoroughness we can’t make any deductive conclusions. We would have to infer relationships between fitness and phenotype based on a sampling of the population.


How odd that we have 2 atheists, both extolling the value of induction WHENEVER I suggest that it is more vulnerable to contradiction than other forms of reasoning…

…and yet both of you will do logical hand-stands that are virtually incomprehensible when you both attack I.D.

I propose that you both inclined to be contrarians … at least when it comes discussions with me.

Most interesting of all: you havent disproved that inductive reasoning is STILL more vulnerable.

As I have said before, I am not opposed to Inductive Reasoning. My point is that Deductive Reasoning when applied to Evolution is LESS vulnerable to error than Inductive Reasoning.

Or perhaps you have an incorrect understanding of how science is done. Is that possible?


I don’t see how one relates to the other.

According to what I was taught in 2nd grade, it takes one to know one. :wink:


Oh yeah? Your maternal parental unit!