Monday, January 22, 2007

Heaven and Earth

ID was one of the subjects under discussion on the Heaven and Earth programme.
Prof. Mark Walport (Director of the Wellcome Trust) spoke against ID maintaining that:

"Evolution is truth now... there is huge anounts of experiment evidence to back it up."

Dr Alistair Noble spoke in defence of ID:

"Intelligent design is a very ancient idea going back at least to the Greeks - It maintains that there is evidence for design in the universe. The constants of physics are finely tuned for life and this looks like design, complex systems are necessary for life and these look designed above all the coded information locked into DNA looks designed."

Former Education Secretary David Blunkett "helpfully" added that ID is “just a much more sophisticated version of creationism.”

Simon Barrow, of "Ekklesia" dismissed ID as a “mistaken religious ideas” and “a political and religious problem”.

Dr Noble responded by distingishing ID from creationism in the following way:

“the difference between intelligent design and creationism is that they have very difference starting points. I would want to insist that the starting point for intelligent design is scientific observation.”

12 Comments:

Blogger allygally said...

How interesting that the discussion was on a religious themed programme....

Also, your famous doctor Noble is not a scientist as far as we can see. He was introduced as an "educationalist", whatever that is.
A quick google identifies him thes Scottish Education Officer of the "Christian Action Research and Education", (CARE) which was ormerly the Festival of Light.


see this

http://www.care.org.uk/group/group.aspx?id=17179

So areligious TV prog and an officer of a religious pressuere group, talking about a "scientific" idea which just happens to closely resemble the theological concept of god the designer...

See any clues? Where do they lead....

The research lab? The sacristy? Loooks cut and dried to me...

4:49 pm  
Anonymous Sparky said...

"How interesting that the discussion was on a religious themed programme...."

So because ID is science you are saying that it cannot be discussed in circles that also talk about religion? Personally I would not mind if religous people began to discuss more and find more value in science.

While I appreciate your concern for the integrity of the concept of Intelligent Design, I am sure our intelligent and mature critics realize that when theists talk about how they believe God is the designer of Intelligent Design, or of Evolution, it is their belief and perogative and does not greatly influence how science is done in either camp.

11:11 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"So because ID is science you are saying that it cannot be discussed in circles that also talk about religion? Personally I would not mind if religous people began to discuss more and find more value in science."

No Sparky:

Because the subject of ID is raised almost solely in religious forums and/or by people with a clear religious motivation, and has only a very tenuous connection to science, it is reasonable to conclude the ID is a religious rather than scientific subject.

8:19 am  
Blogger allygally said...

Sparky I wrote: "So a religious TV prog and an officer of a religious pressure group, talking about a "scientific" idea which just happens to closely resemble the theological concept of god the designer...

See any clues? Where do they lead?
The research lab? The sacristy?"

What do you think? Where do the clues lead?

7:51 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hrafn and others,

Do you regard Andrew as a scientist?

Thanks.

4:20 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"Do you regard Andrew as a scientist?"

No.

5:55 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hrafn,

Are you a scientist?

4:15 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"Are you a scientist?"

No, but a number of commenters on here are (e.g. Tony Jackson, Ian Musgrave, and Matt Inlay) are.

2:34 pm  
Anonymous Sparky said...

"Because the subject of ID is raised almost solely in religious forums and/or by people with a clear religious motivation, and has only a very tenuous connection to science, it is reasonable to conclude the ID is a religious rather than scientific subject."

Many do science for financial reasons, should we ignore their work to?

7:47 pm  
Anonymous Sparky said...

"Because the subject of ID is raised almost solely in religious forums and/or by people with a clear religious motivation, and has only a very tenuous connection to science, it is reasonable to conclude the ID is a religious rather than scientific subject."

Many do science for financial reasons, should we ignore their work to?

7:47 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"Many do science for financial reasons, should we ignore their work to?"

The first problem with that question is that most prominent ID-advocates do not "do science" in furtherance of their claims (and many aren't even scientists), they merely publish apologetic tracts that quote-mine others' scientific research.

Secondly, nobody here has been advocating "ignoring" the IDers work, merely viewing their claims with scepticism.

And yes, I would also advocate scepticism where people "do science" have sufficiently large, and sufficiently conflicting, financial motivations as to raise suspicion about their scientific objectivity. The few IDers who "do science" in furtherance of their claims (e.g. Douglas Axe) should be placed on a similar footing to these.

Of course, simply doing religious apologetics, rather than doing any genuine scientific research, removes any default presumption of scientific objectivity, so most IDers' claims should be viewed with even more scepticism.

2:26 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look, this is getting silly now.

I think most people would agree ID is a science if its premises are testable and falsifiable. No scientist would doubt that.

For the scientific community to accept it as a valid theory, repeatable observations would need to be presented to support these premises. No big deal there.

So that's the (simplified) philosophy of science bit over with.

Now for the political side: it seems that ID is not being pushed so much for its scientific merit (which it has yet to reveal), but because it would provide a scientific basis for theistic religion.

Perhaps the question we should ask is: why on earth would theistic religion want a scientific basis?

Perhaps the answer we should conclude is: real science has provided such utility that theistic religion is struggling to cope.

What utility does ID provide?

10:36 am  

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