Talks at BiRC yesterday
Yesterday, I mentioned that I was going to two seminars at BiRC on Darwinism and ID...
Ok, here goes :)
The first talk was by a historian and was on the history of Darwin and the introduction of his ideas in Denmark. Here it was pretty rapidly accepted by scientists (and the population in general). One of the reasons for this was that Danish theologians quickly made a distinction between "knowing" and "believing" and had no problems with natural sciences dealing with science and the church dealing with faith, and not trying to mixing that up.
This is still the case today, but at the end of the talk he turned to the history of creationism and ID. These movements are still pretty rare in Denmark, so it was mainly the history of creationism in the US.
All in all a very interesting talk.
The second talk was from a philosopher and was on the arguments used by ID, and whether ID should be considered a science and taught as such in school.
The arguments are well known to you, I am sure. Argument by analogy, god of the gaps, and the two chestnuts Irreducible Complex and Specified Complexity. (The two latter he essentially reduced to God of the Gaps by showing that the final step for Design in either case boils down to not knowing the "true" answer and therefore conclude that "God did it"; regardless of the many complexity/probability theoretic problems with the arguments, that alone disqualifies it as proper logic).
Arguing by analogy is essentially the "if it looks like a duck, it must be a duck" argument, and the problem is that by choosing the right analogy you can prove anything. He quoted the Danish play Erasmus Montanus where the main character proves that his mother is a stone, since stones cannot fly and neither can his mother.
The God of the Gaps argument essentially asks you to conclude that if you don't know how X happens, then it must be God who did X. If you cannot prove not X, then X must be true. The problem here is, of course, that you can just plug in Y for X and the argument is just as (in)valid. So maybe the Spaghetti Monster did it?
All in all, he concluded that non of the arguments would be considered strong arguments (from a philosophy view point).
He then turned to ID as a science, and compared it to the scientific principle of falsifiability. If God did it, and he works in mysterious ways, then falsifiability is out the window.
Sure, God might be behind it all, but then science is meaningless. He can cheat us at any time. You simply cannot have a mysterious God and science at the same time. If you accept science, then either God does not excist, or he does not work in quite as mysterious ways.
If you accept ID as science, then all other science has to go, since they are not philosophical compatible.
So should ID be taught in science classes? No!