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on intelligent design..

sixteenbynine recently made a nice little post about the whole Intelligent Design SNAFU that's been such a busy thing lately. I post my response again here, for a wider audience (and spell-checked!), and also because it apparently won me both the Internet AND the (D)ARPANET. Yay..!


Heck, I believe myself in crazy stuff like the spirit and divinity and all that. I see no reason to believe that anything in the universe, or the universe itself, necessarily does not have some degree of awareness as what humans experience, but manifests in different ways, yada yada.

But that's the stuff in my head.. I think over things a lot. And I'm probably pretty crazy, although a fairly functional crazy.

I don't claim that there's strict evidence of what I believe, just enough certain things that synchronize in the right ways enough for me to believe in. (And when I say believe, I mean, fondle the notion of, and take into deep consideration, and let my heart guide me.. not, dogmatically follow and adhere to, to the extent of waging war with alternate or conflicting paradigms).

The thing that bothers me the most about this is that they're treating science as though it were some oppressive force, and they're ideas are worth hearing too! Well sure, in a philosophy class, or religious studies. But not science, because we've defined science as empirical observation of definable and falsifiable theories based on evidence.

And here they are saying, "Our theory is good too!" But it isn't even a theory, it's not even a hypothesis, because even a hypothesis requires some degree of physical evidence to be formulated. "I propose this hypothesis, because I've observed these things to be true -- let's see how accurate it really is." Intelligent design doesn't have that, it just has excuses. And while the world may really be the Matrix, we on the inside unfortunately have no methods for observing the patterns of code that make up our world, and therefor simply cannot use the very notion that it could be true as evidence that it is -- or even can be -- as true as what we've observed.

So until we've been given the red pill or blue pill option, we can't be expected to follow the notion that everything we believe is wrong, even if it's true, because it's all that we have. And please understand that if some bum on the street offers us pills, a lot of us are going to pass it up -- we like to know our drug dealers first.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 1st, 2005 12:49 pm (UTC)
Yes, keep hammering on this distinction. Evolutionists do NOT want to "ban religion" or anything like that. I tire of explaining to people that evolution and religion are not mutually antagonistic; that there are many scientists who study evolution that believe in God and see no contradiction in their work; etc.

Stephen Jay Gould himself wrote a very good book -- the last of his career sadly -- called "The Magister's Pox" (the actual title is longer) that addressed the enmity between science and religion and made a case that the two were not nearly as much at each other's throats as we have been led to believe.
Sep. 1st, 2005 12:59 pm (UTC)
Ya.. it seems more like the dogmatism, the overprotection of personal/group paradigms that causes the throat-attage. I'm fine with people saying that God is behind evolution -- there are actually some theories that could be seen as that.

Emergent behavior is a very interesting concept, that plays out in a lot of things.. the idea that there is a driving force of some sort behind the things we see in reality, rather than random chaos, is palpable.

It's just this whole story of God putting wrocks that just LOOK older than they really are into place that doesn't make much sense from a scientific standpoint. Although I do like to sit and consider how God may be the author of this story -- and how writers often add history into a world, rather than running through from beginning to end -- but that's just a silly thought, something fun to write about, or ponder over, or converse about. It doesn't make any sense really to say that's how things really are -- not from a scientific standpoint, because it only involves conceptual and philosophical notions, not strict observation and testing.

People forget the main basis for science. If you can't prove it wrong, then you can't prove it right. That doesn't mean it's wrong by default, that just means we can't state with real confidence that it's true.
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 1st, 2005 03:15 pm (UTC)
Ya.. they really can work well together, but should also be recognized as their own things. Now, if we want to start more classes on metaphysics, that's fine. Just understand that it isn't science so much as the precursor to science -- the ideas that lead us to search for how things work, what the real truth appears to be behind these things.

People also need to understand that religion isn't supposed to be truth so much as a search for the truth, much like science. It's only taking it from a different angle, and that's what it's there for. It's metaphysics, not physics. It's spirituality, not chemistry. It's philosophy, not applied mathematics.

They can go hand-in-hand, but call it what it is.
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 1st, 2005 04:13 pm (UTC)
Right.. the major difference with science being the use of empirical method and observation. We are actually testing our theories, and having strict observations of all the functions involved to see what actually is true -- whereas religion typically works more off assumptions, and alternative interpretations of the sense that make some degree of sense to the human psyche, without all the testing and observation. There is some observation involved, but it is generally personal observation, and not cataloging and meticulously breaking down to make sure that really is how things work.

I have an appreciation of both religion and science (as well as nonreligious metaphysics, philosophy, and spiritual paths), and am always upset by people who believe a lack of religion or a world for of atheists would be an improvement -- it wouldn't, in fact it would be a catastrophe to so reduce our diversity of perspective.

It's just important to remember the differences in perspectives sometimes differ to the point that there is a need to categorize things separately, and the things we educate people are what we know as well as we can at the time are true, or make the most useful models for describing observable reality. Anything else is elective.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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