Uses of logical arguments in debate


(Bill Cole) #202

What do you mean are known? I agree there not necessarily a consequence of design but that is different then simply a piece of evidence.

(Bill Cole) #203

I am not saying what it is evidence for simply a single piece of evidence for something. A murder. a suicide an animal attack etc. The conclusion will probably involve additional pieces of evidence.

(Mikkel R.) #204

I mean there is lots of evidence that can only be rationally explained by evolution, so it would be fair to say we know evolution is responsible for it. Known in that sense.

I agree there not necessarily a consequence of design but that is different then simply a piece of evidence.

I don’t understand this sentence, can you rephrase it?

(Mikkel R.) #205

Alright fair enough, I agree then.

(Timothy Horton) #206

Brilliant analysis there Bill. Everything we find is evidence for something. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

(Bill Cole) #207

So how do you rule out design (intelligent cause) as a possible reason for the chicken and egg problems in biology?

(Timothy Horton) #208

We can’t rule it out because the nebulous “design” is unfalsifiable. All we can do is point out there’s no positive evidence for any external “design” and plenty of evidence none was required.

You’ve asked and had that question answered dozens of times too.


So you will only consider naturalistic explanations, even if you don’t know how it happened?

(Bill Cole) #210

Sure you can rule it out as a direct cause. As you can rule it out as the direct cause of an apple falling to the floor. I agree you can’t rule it out as the ultimate cause.

(Timothy Horton) #211

Please explain how you can rule out invisible gravity pixies consciously pushing dropped objects to the floor.

(Bill Cole) #212

This is why science comes to the conclusions it does. Design is something that occurs in nature so ruling it out is arbitrary.

(Timothy Horton) #213

We don’t rule it out. There’s no positive evidence for it in biological life so it is not considered.


I am asking if you will only consider naturalistic explanations.

(Mikkel R.) #215

If you don’t define some boundary conditions, some limitations of design, what you would expect in particular, how often you would expect it, then no it can’t be ruled out. But then you have a bad scientific theory (as in pseudo-scientific, not at all scientific) because we can’t conceive of a a set of circumstances that you could not just declare ad-hoc was what you expected from design all along.

If you had some sort of idea about what the designer wants, what it’s mechanisms and tools used to design are like, for how long it might have been operating and all that stuff, then you’d have a scientific theory. But you dont’ have a theory of design, you have an idea that “something thought about it, and then made it happen with some inscrutable power”. How could this ever constitute a scientific theory?

It should be possible to make, at least in principle, a theory of design, but it will require you to stick your neck out and risk falsification. Until you do that, you don’t have a design hypothesis, and you can’t really predict anything. It is not our job to rule out a theory without any defined limitations, boundaries, or genuine predictions (as opposed to ad-hoc rationalizations).

(Bill Cole) #216

I think there are boundary conditions to current ID claims. One is irreducibly complexity or its poster child the flagellar motor. If given all the repair mechanisms and the DNA ripped out of e coli you could produce it you have then challenged Behe’s claim if you could show how the Darwinian mechanism produced this. This would also demonstrate the Darwinian mechanism producing quantities of FI which would be problematic to the ID claims around FI.


Another example of a lack of logic being used in a debate: the Dissent From Darwinism list touted by the Discovery Institute. To join the list you have to agree with this statement:

“We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”
Dissent from Darwin

Logically, you can be skeptical of a theory and still accept it as the best scientific explanation. Logically, being skeptical of one theory does not automatically mean you accept another theory, such as the claimed theory of intelligent design. Logically, proving evolution false does not prove intelligent design true, being a false dichotomy. Logically, the accuracy of a theory is not dependent on a list of people who claim they are skeptical of it.

So exactly what logic is the Discovery Institute using here?

(Timothy Horton) #218

As long as you posit an omnipotent Deity as the Designer there are no boundary conditions or testable hypotheses. An omnipotent Designer could by definition be responsible for any and all physical phenomena found. An omnipotent Designer could easily use evolutionary mechanisms to achieve desired results.

Until you posit some capabilities and limitations of the Designer you’ll never generate anything to test.

(Timothy Horton) #219

It’s BS propaganda to sow doubt about science among uneducated laymen. Then the plan is to get the uneducated laymen to back legislation to let the religiously motivated pseudoscience of ID into public school science classrooms.

The DI isn’t exactly subtle in their mendacity.

(Ann Gauger) #220


I find this deeply curious on several levels also. First, who besides me has been talking about this? And second, I did not know that branches of the OOL field had turned in this direction. When did this happen? I have documentary evidence how long I have been thinking and talking about it.

You have to be really deeply in your bubble of pathological distrust to suspect me of copycatting without bothering to ask me first.

On the other hand, it means I am on to something significant. Thank you @Rumraket for you completely unintended backwards compliment.

(Bill Cole) #221

The boundary conditions are what we know about the design process and what type of outputs we have observed from it.