* Posts by LW

7 posts • joined 26 Jun 2007

MoD sorts out 'turkey' helicopters for Xmas

LW

Absurd.

"This is no longer a democracy."

It has [i]never[/i] been a democracy, and if you think new labour's corruption and incompetence are a change from what came before you've obviously got a short memory or you weren't there for it.

Microsoft promises less-annoying Vista OS early next year

LW

Upgrade advice from Microsoft

"deployment benefits", they say?

What exactly are the benefits of deploying an OS that doesn't work over one that does?

Linux database becomes a browser

LW

I hope their database indexing is quicker than their fileserving...

Nothing says "Web 2.0" more convincingly than a download running at 6k/second, eh?

UK Gov boots intelligent design back into 'religious' margins

LW

again

"Darwinism"

Using that term comes dangerously close to discrediting yourself, in this argument. The pejorative (and straw man) usage among ID proponents is an attempt to tie down scientific process to a single man's ideas, which is either disingenuous or ignorant. Avoid the term. To the point, and I'm repeating myself, Darwin's content is largely irrelevant. Whether he is right or wrong is largely irrelevant. Scientific process allows for this to be the case, so long as a "better" theory takes its place.

As for ID being scientific - the moment you include an ontological investment such as "a higher power" as part of your reasoning, without any quantifiable evidence, you're on shaky scientific ground. It is one thing to say that the universe "is this way", it is a far greater thing to say that the universe "is this way because of some higher power", and such claims require very compelling proof (which design arguments do not provide). Scientific theories must be parsimonious in their acceptance of ontological predicates, and adding in a higher power/awareness/consciousness without any evidence is prima facie abhorrent to such principles. And as alluded to above, ID is not falsifiable, and it is also rarely presented by its proponents as being potentially false (note the distinction between these).

With reference to your extensive bibliography, what most ID arguments come down to is an attack on some element of Darwin's body of work. If this is done in a scientific manner, it is, by definition, welcomed by science. However such criticisms are 1/ usually not scientifically rigorous themselves, and 2/ are then typically used fallaciously ("ignoratio elenchi") to discredit science as a whole. If you can guarantee me that the above don't succumb to such pitfalls I might be tempted to look into them.

LW

*sigh*

"More than 700 scientists and philosophers of science holding doctorate degrees from prestigious universities around the world have recently expressed doubts about the claims of Darwinian evolution."

The content is not the issue - it may be incorrect, and can be changed, or even completely rewritten; this should be stated by any science teacher worth their salt. It's the process that matters, and it's the process that ID lacks, hence it has no place alongside currently understood scientific explanations of the universe. Arguments about the universe appearing to have been intelligently designed are philosophical, not scientific - and they are arguments that have been debated to stalemate long ago in philosophy of theology, in teleological arguments (essentially, intelligent design as an attempt at proof of God's existence).

LW

yes, more

"at least in the area of evolution, science is apparently the place where you are told what to believe and also told that you must not, under any circumstances, question what you have been told. After all, ID raises questions about evolutionary theory, and apparently you can't raise those questions!"

Don't be facetious. ID doesn't raise any significant scientific questions about evolutionary theory; if it did they'd be most welcome. THAT is scientific method, and it is what is lacking from every organised religion I've ever come across.

LW

Wonderful stuff all round, but this is the best:

"I am a true scientist refusing to dismiss anything (as offensive as it may be to me or others) until completely proven to be false. Thus I believe in a higher power and in teaching *all* possibilities of our existence in schools. QED"

Parody: "I am a true scientist refusing to dismiss anything (as offensive as it may be to me or others) until completely proven to be false. Thus I believe in a unicorns and in teaching *all* possibilities of unicorn existence in schools. QED"

Fallacy: possibility does not entail probability.

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