WHINING TAKES TIME

Dr. Brian C. Melton, Assistant Professor of History at Liberty University, writing at the web site Intellectual Conservative, Human Origins and a Side of Fries: Refuting a Popular Neo-Darwinian Position.

[A] A prime example of this appeared in Expelled, when Dawkins expressed a willingness to accept evidence of cellular intelligent design if it came from aliens, but not if it implied that God existed. While there is manifestly less proof to support the idea of extra-terrestrial life than a supernatural God, the general concept at least fits in with Dawkins’s naturalistic biases, and so he finds it acceptable. Evidence has nothing to do with it.

Brian, the word evidence meaningfully appears in your sentence [A] in two instances: (1) accept evidence if it came; and (2) not [accept] if it implied.

Evidence does have something to do with the difference between its coming from or coming about, and, its pointing toward some implication. But how to research the mechanics of the designer’s biological agency?

The ID crowd argues furiously in favor of this latter implication, that a designer is implied by inferences drawn from the current evidence. Yet, they understand that their understanding as much is impossible to demonstrate within any naturalistic verification methodology, (eg. science,) given the requisite supernatural causation and its mechanics or miraculous (pre?) mechanics.

So, marching off in the direction of “creation science” and post-science, why is it the proponents of creationism get so exercised by science when ID’s verification can’t even exist within the scientific framework?

Melton wants it both ways, on one hand his attitude is given away by the mention of “naturalistic bias,” and, on the other hand, he wants more face time for ID! As is almost always the case, even considering the Liberty University source, Melton trots off the edge to the deep end of the yet-to-be-filled pool.

Regarding whether there could ever be enough evidence behind ID to qualify it as legitimate science, we must remember an aspect of the scientific method itself. In order for a question to be genuinely interrogative (i.e. “Is there sufficient evidence to prove ID as a viable hypothesis?”), it must be open-ended to some extent. In other words, we must be able to answer it honestly. To simply presume the answer ahead of time and then use this “answer” to evaluate the evidence is not only counterproductive, it is intellectually dishonest. In this way, NDs conveniently overlook various limitations in their own theory and application: How does experimental science prove or disprove a specific creation method for the universe, given that the laws that govern science only came into existence after the initial creation moment? Why are they not willing to allow that other intelligent people should be permitted to hold to a position that critiques Neo-Darwinism from a profoundly different perspective, when NDs can question anything they like? Where are the millions of transitional fossils we’ve been told to expect for over a century?

To simply presume the answer ahead of time and then use this “answer” to evaluate the evidence is not only counterproductive, it is intellectually dishonest.

The problem is that the ID crowd hasn’t presented any evidence to be evaluated per the hypothesis that there exists in nature a mechanism via which a designer intervenes in biological generativity. In fact, the ID crowd hasn’t spent anytime supposing what researchable hypotheses might be worthwhile given the intuition that such an intervention may have happened, happens.

(All the work of Dembski, Behe, and others is about the purported ramification of this mechanism. Obviously working backward by way of inference to the unsupported premise defeats the research as a formal scientific exercise.)

How does experimental science prove or disprove a specific creation method for the universe, given that the laws that govern science only came into existence after the initial creation moment?

Let’s forgive Melton his pile up of category errors, (drifting illogically as he does between the ontic creation method, governing science, and the ontic coming into existence of laws.) Melton asks a how question but doesn’t suggest any answers. Hard core young earth creationists have asked a similar question in more brutally ignorant terms: How can we know anything about origins when no human was around to observe the origins. In effect they assert: how can we know anything about the evidence when nobody was around to observe the evidence being made?

But neo-Darwinism hasn’t disproved the existence of an intelligent designer, just as ID researchers haven’t proved the designer’s existence. I give Melton some credit for almost tasking science with the job of investigating origins going back to the moment prior to the universe’s initial development, but, nevertheless, here he wants to relieve science of any opportunity to prove or disprove–literally–the first things of nature, while not daring to introduce his obvious interrogatory assumption: how could anyone prove or disprove anything at all about a specific creation method?

It needs to be said for the umpteenth time: until ID begins to actually do biological science divorced from its wish to altogether end biological science, whining about polemicists such as Dawkins and whining about biologists finding intelligent design to be laughable, while all the while publishing no papers that challenge neo-Darwinian evidence and research on scientific terms alone, is a waste of everybody’s time. I admit my reply here wastes my own time!

Where are the millions of transitional fossils?

Ahhh, the hallmark of the young earth creationist and of the person who can’t be troubled to answer his own question. One needs one transitional fossil to blow up the hypothesis that due to Godly design, there cannot be anything–ever–transitional.

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4 Responses to WHINING TAKES TIME

  1. ryan says:

    Maybe that Jungian Oversoul flexes its meta-consciousness from each point in its existence through every era in time. Moving a molecule here and a molecule there every once in a while. All for the purpose to both give rise to Freud and revolt from Freud. Beam me up Scotty, there is no intelligence down here.

  2. hoon says:

    I’m can’t tell whether you’re are intending to be droll or catty here, Ryan. However “Oversoul” is not a term of the Analytic Psychology, thus your comment is a bit obscure.

    You do land on the prime ontological directive: a phenomena arises and can be experienced, and so it earns its account; per William James. Perhaps were there demonstrably no designer, nonetheless, a designer would be invented.

    Curiously, if we run with an Oversoul capacious enough to move molecules and smaller parts, we’d note that this oversoul spent 99% of the earth’s history messing around with unreflective life, given that reflective life is around 100-200,000 years old, and something like 13,000,000,000+ planetary years were unfolded previously.

  3. Brian Melton says:

    Greetings,

    Interesting. For someone who is apparently a complete idiot writing a piece not worth anyone’s attention, I apparently warranted quite
    a bit of your precious time!

    I don’t intend to spark a massive post-for-post debate; I don’t have time and I presume you don’t either. Still, I would offer a few
    (honestly) friendly responses:

    First, I would like to point out that I think you’re tasking me with quite a bit for a 1000 word op-ed: I’m supposed provide final answers to all possible side issues that could emerge from the huge topics we’re discussing (asking a “how” questions but not providing any answers, particularly regarding fossils)? My purpose in this piece wasn’t to solve the mysteries of the universe or to provide a complete and utter rejoinder to every Neo-Darwinian argument. I simply intended to raise a few questions about one specific theme in the debate. To fault me for not fixing the world in a soundbite is simply wrongheaded and a fine example of creating a straw man.

    Secondly, you actually provided a good example of the double-standard on evidence I mentioned: Your own presumptions (which I must point out are not fully and completely explained, discussed, and defended explicitly in text, in your piece—but I’ll give you a bye on that one) have led you to declare potential “evidence” (i.e. Behe and others) worthless primarily because you’ve conveniently presumed a definition of evidence that predestines most reasonably conceivable evidence critical of Darwinism to be “worthless.” It is a definition of evidence that precludes much of the every evidence and argumentation you would likely allow in favor of naturalism and Darwinism. My point wasn’t that Darwinism or naturalism should be banned from rational inquiry—as you imply for ID—only that the same standards be applied equally, and Darwinism open itself to real criticism that results in more than bland variations on a theme.

    What you’ve done is mainly rehash the same old word game: Naturalism (or macro-evolution, or whatever) is “proved” by “evidence” when “evidence” is defined entirely by presuming naturalism before the question is even asked. As such, I really don’t want it “both ways.” What I want is a real open mind.

    Anticipating a rejoinder, I’ll also add that it doesn’t matter if every scientist in the world agrees with that definition of “evidence”. There was a time when every intelligent person in the world agreed that Galileo was wrong. Argument ad verecundiam never makes a thing necessarily so.

    Finally, I would suggest that in future discussion, you try to avoid the argument ad hominem. Your obvious references of disdain for creationists or the institution where I work should really be more embarrassing to you in the eyes of a balanced reader. As you wrongly claimed regarding my arguments, attacking me or my personal beliefs (of which you presume much and know nothing) is little more than a method of diverting attention away from issues, like those mentioned above, that you might find harder to answer.

    Anyway, have a good day.

    Best,
    Brian Melton

  4. hoon says:

    Brian, I admitted I was using my time unwisely. But why call yourself a complete idiot? I didn’t even call you half an idiot.

    I will amplify one of your points and then clue you in about the lack of argumentative ground rules here on ~Explorations.

    Naturalism (or macro-evolution, or whatever) is “proved” by “evidence” when “evidence” is defined entirely by presuming naturalism before the question is even asked.

    You’re right in that the naturalistic predicate is presumptive with respect to the naturalistic (ie. ‘hard’,) sciences.

    This is why I have long wondered why a discipline such as ID is in any way concerned with a science that does not include its own supernaturalistic predicate. Really, you’d have to explain to me why the ID researchers don’t spend all their time erecting supernaturalism into a worthy research regime while bolting it into a foundational philosophy of supernatural research.

    It seems they could do so, and then, over time, they could create curricula about this discipline and make appeals to every level of education for the inclusion of supernaturalism, the subject.

    With respect to this kind of project, your criticism of the naturalistic predicate could be reconfigured to serve as the predicate and premises for supernaturalism, the discipline. Both disciplines could work their different angles. I don’t know what methodology of falsification and verification the supernaturalist might deploy, yet even this would be a worthwhile aim of inquiry.

    I’ll also add that it doesn’t matter if every scientist in the world agrees with that definition of “evidence”.

    As far as science goes, the definition of evidence, as well as how evidentiary observations and procedures are operationalized, gets argued over all the time. The key lies elsewhere: in the replication of experiments. Evidence that works only once won’t be saved by a new, better definition.

    As far as your patronizing advice and concern for my embarrassment goes, you assume motives that aren’t in play here. Also, I nowhere stated that ID should be banned from rational inquiry. Where it constitutes rational inquiry, ID is firmly so, albeit with respect to biology, ID isn’t doing, (as it were, biology,) so there its rationality is suspect within those naturalistic impositions given as predicate.

    To say it again: ID seems on the cusp of inventing a new post-scientific discipline, and I wish it godspeed in doing so. …the sooner the better.

    As for transitional fossils, my point was that you can’t be bothered–it would seem–to answer your own question.

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