The Question

Without independent evidence and knowledge of the designers, science is unable to determine whether or not something is designed.  How do we know this to be true?

1. Observation. Any scientific discipline that does determine whether or not things are designed (archaeology, forensic science) invariably relies on independent knowledge about the designers.  The only single, plausible exception to this observation is SETI.  But it is not clear that SETI is indeed science and it is clear that SETI has a track record of failure.  Thus, SETI is not a serious exception.

2. Philosophy. Jacques Monod has spelled out the essential aspect of any design inference: Hence it is through reference to our own activity, conscious and projective, intentional and purposive-it is as makers of artifacts-that we judge of a given object’s “naturalness” or “artificialness.”

All successful design inferences have relied on this subjective dimension, which helps explain why science excludes teleology. Archaeology and forensics have developed as science because this subjective dimension is anchored in objective knowledge about the designers.

3. Experiment.You can test this position for yourself by asking any scientist the following question(s):

a. What would cause you to suspect that something in biology had been designed by non-human intelligence?

b. What would you count as evidence that something in biology had been designed by non-human intelligence?

When you do this little experiment, from experience, I predict you will get one of four possible answers:

i. A demand for independent evidence of the designers. This will simply confirm my point.

ii. A demand for something that cannot possibly be explained by evolutionary theory or natural law. This is not only an appeal to god-of-the-gaps, it is illogical, as any scientist should know that just because something is inexplicable does not mean it signals another mind.

iii. A vague demand for a “testable hypothesis.” This is an example of hiding the goalposts, as it deflects the question.  Does anyone really believe a scientist would suspect design because another person came up with a testable hypothesis?  Or that a scientist would consider someone else’s testable hypothesis as evidence for design?

iv. No reply. No need to comment on this one.

The reason why you will get these four replies is because without independent evidence of the designers, scientists have no method for determining whether or not something was designed.  It’s just not part of science.

Advertisements

2 responses to “The Question

  1. Mike –

    You might take a look at my paper about re-establishing Irreducible Complexity on computability theory:

    Irreducible Complexity and Relative Irreducible Complexity: Foundations and Applications

    Also see regarding some of those same issues:

    Algorithmic information theory, free will, and the Turing test

  2. Any scientific discipline that does determine whether or not things are designed (archaeology, forensic science) invariably relies on independent knowledge about the designers.

    Not necessarily.

    All they- archaeologists and forensic scientists- require is knowledge of what nature, operating freely can produce coupled with knowledge of what agency can do with nature.

    a. What would cause you to suspect that something in biology had been designed by non-human intelligence?

    If it has a function and if it is not reducible to matter, energy, chance and necessity.

    So what we would do is plug whatever it is into the EF and go from there.

    The point being is that science does care as to how something came to be the way it is.

    Even Richard Dawkins says it makes a difference.

    Now if any scientist sez that isn’t good enough then I would say that/ those scientists are being dishonest and trying to protect their religion.

    IOW Mike we run tests to try to figure out what it takes to get whatever it is we are trying to figure out.

    If we found a piece of technology that is far more advanced then anything we have ever made, what do we do? Just say “nature didit”, because we don’t have any evidence, besides that artifact, of the real designer(s)?

    BTW you do realize that the non-teleological position has an onus- an onus to substantiate their claims with testable data.

    You appear to be giving them a free-pass.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s