Over at Telic Thoughts, Bilbo continues to insist that ID is science by stressing “the fact that in the not so very distant past, ID was considered science in the field of biology.”
There are three prisms by which we might perceive science – philosophy, history, and sociology. From the philosophical prism, people try to come up with some ideal and abstract definition of science, but this effort has failed, as no one has generated a definition that has become universally embraced. As such, there are lots of personal definitions of science and I see them all the time all over the place. I myself stand in the tradition of Jacques Monod, who wrote:
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.”
It is my view that, in the final analysis, all design inferences must appeal to this intuition and that an ultimate reliance on a subjective judgment call is not science. Since we have been conditioned by a culture of scientism, many people find this to be a very bitter pill to swallow (What? Science is not the road to Truth?!). Me? I simply recognize this as another limitation of science – if life was designed, the design would exist within the blind spot of science.
As for the historical prism, I just don’t see how this angle can be used to determine whether or not an inquiry is science today. It’s a simple fact that throughout history, things change. For example, I would not argue that I should be considered a citizen of England because I would have been considered a citizen of England had I lived where I live 250 years ago. Or consider the simple fact that today you cannot be a doctor or even a hairdresser without the appropriate licensure. In other words, doctors and hairdressers from 200 years ago would not be considered doctors and hairdressers today. Things change.
So look at it this way. The philosophy prism gives us abstract notions of what science ought to be, the historical perspective tells us what science used to be, but it is the sociological perspective that describes what science is in the present. As such, science is a human expression – it is something a group of people do. To do science, you don’t tell the group what is and is not science. If it is science, the group with embrace and incorporate it. To do science, you don’t tell the group what their ancestors did. If it is science, they will see you doing what they do.
In other words, if you think you are doing science, it is not for you to say. The group that practices the craft called science gets to say. So when I point out that ID is not science, it’s not that much different from pointing out an election result. Maybe it’s not fair, maybe it’s not right, but that’s the way it is.
If you want to change the situation, it will not help to come up with arguments about science. It will not help to complain or get mad. It will not help to come up with a political solution. It will not help to naysay and nitpick the positions of the scientific community.
There is only one way to change things – you must make the scientific community jealous of what you have. Bilbo was probably right when he argued that the scientific community would embrace SETI if they discovered ETI. The scientific community would want to share in that discovery and take part in further analysis, to receive even more of a share in the discovery. If the ID community was making discoveries that made the rest of the scientific community jealous, things would change. But coming up with a dozen different ways to tell the scientific community that their approach is a failure and that they need to start acknowledging there are certain phenomenon that can never be explained by natural processes will never make the scientific community jealous.
It just annoys them.