Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Exucse Me While I Kiss the Ground, Part 2

Mr. Carson has taken exception to my comments about ID in three areas: 1.) What he takes as my dismissal of the arguments of ID’s opponents, 2.) My perceived failure in defining a criterion for what science is, and 3.) My alleged failure to recognize that what sets ID apart from genuine science is that like effects do not necessarily entail like causes.

This post addresses item 2. Here is the post for item 1. Here is the post for item 3.

Mr. Carson also chides me for not defining a line of demarcation for science. This despite my repeated references to Thomas Kuhn's definition of normal science as my context for discussion. Among all people, I would expect a least philosophy professor, particularly one with a self-proclaimed interested in philosophy of science, to recognize that as my line of demarcation, even if it’s not Popperian. For the record, as a service to the hyperlink-challenged, from my third edition copy of Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (also see here), p. 10:

"[N]ormal science" means research firmly based upon one or more past scientific achievements, achievements that some particular scientific community acknowledges for a time as supplying the foundation for its further practice.
What is this foundation in the case of ID? If you read any of ID's scientific literature (Note that I am not referring to the popular literature, or the news accounts, of the ID movement), then you will find that it is rooted in evolutionary theory. To corroborate further that there is legitimate science in ID, let's look at the actual work. From Kuhn, pp. 25-27:

There are, I think, only three normal foci for factual scientific investigation, and they are neither always nor permanently distinct. First is the class of facts that the paradigm has shown to be particularly revealing of the nature of things... A second usual but smaller class of factual determination is directed to those facts that, though often without much intrinsic interest, can be compared to directly with predictions from the paradigm theory... A third class of experiments and observations exhausts, I think, the fact-gathering activities of normal science. It consists of empirical work undertaken to articulate the paradigm theory, resolving some of its residual ambiguities and permitting the solution of problems to which it had previously only drawn attention.
In my judgment, in this context, cataloging evolutionary anomalies with specified complexity is an activity of the second class. Moreover, I think, anyone, opponent, or proponent, of ID, who claims the science of ID is more, or less, than this is in error. However, there still seem to be those who refuse to recognize the science of ID even as I have characterized it, so I will adjust the definition of my third category of opponents to include those who make this mistake, i.e., the third group mischaracterizes what ID actually is, from ignorance, or by choice, including many Joe and Jane Sixpacks.

If you want to have a debate over using Kuhn’s framework vs. Popper’s, for example, that’s fine. Let’s have that discussion. Or how could one categorize ID as science in light of Popper’s concept of falsifiability? Another good topic. But, again, I have to chalk up claiming that I provided no framework to define what science is to careless reading.

To be continued...

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