Intelligent Design Movement: Science or Pseudoscience?

Are the advocates in the intelligent design movement promoting science or pseudoscience?


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#1
Are the advocates in the intelligent design movement (an offshoot of creation science) promoting science or pseudoscience? Also, are the advocates believers or proponents? (I have been informed by the powers that be on this forum that a believer is someone who accepts a belief strictly on faith - faith as the atheist defines the term, namely belief without evidence. A proponent is someone who believes the evidence justifies his or her belief.)

Here are some things to consider:

The ID movement is not necessarily against evolution per se. It's just against atheistic and materialistic evolution.

The overall goal of the intelligent design movement is to overthrow materialism and atheism. Its proponents believe that society has suffered "devastating" cultural consequences from adopting materialism and that science is the cause of the decay into materialism because it seeks only natural explanations, and is therefore atheistic. (source: Wikipedia: Intelligent design movement)
Phillip E. Johnson (who is considered the father of the ID movement) made the following argument in his book entitled "Darwin on Trail."

- "Evolution" contradicts "creation" only when it is explicitly or tacitly defined as fully naturalistic evolution - meaning evolution which is not directed by any purposeful intelligence. pg. 4

- Similarly, "creation" contradicts evolution only when it means sudden creation, rather than creation by progressive development. pg. 4

(source: "Darwin on Trail" by Phillip E. Johnson)
Also, consider the fact that there are some in the parapsychology community who believe that evolution is influenced by a higher consciousness (a.k.a. God). As such, these individuals might qualify as advocates of intelligent design.

For example, psi could contribute to evolution by briefly influencing random processes to enhance diversity, without specifically guiding evolution or having sustained effects. Some type of higher consciousness may influence or control psi effects. (source: "The Capricious, Actively Evasive, Unsustainable Nature of Psi: A Summary and Hypotheses" by J.E. Kennedy)
In fact, there are even some opponents (e.g. Kenneth R. Miller) of ID who might unwittingly qualify as advocates of ID.

"The only alternative to what [the critics of evolution] describe as randomness would be a nonrandom universe of clockwork mechanisms that would also rule out active intervention by any supreme Deity. Caught between these two alternatives, they fail to see the one more consistent with their religious beliefs is actually the mainstream scientific view linking evolution with quantum reality of the physical sciences." (source: pg. 213 "Finding Darwin's God" by Kenneth R. Miller)
"Fortunately, in scientific terms, if there is a God, He has left Himself plenty of material to work with. To pick just one example, the indeterminate nature of quantum events would allow a clever and subtle God to influence events in ways that are profound, but scientifically undetectable to us. Those events could include the appearance of mutations, the activation of individual neurons in the brain, and even the survival of individual cells and organisms affected by the chance processes of radioactive decay." (source: pg. 241 "Finding Darwin's God" by Kenneth R. Miller)
 
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Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

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#2
ID has the potential to be a sort-of science, but the workers in the field aren't interested in science. It's a religious project disguised as science. Actually, they aren't doing any sciency stuff at all, but rather pushing their arguments with bogus math. Actually, they're not even doing that much anymore, but just bashing evolution.

~~ Paul
 
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#3
I haven't answered your poll, because ID supporters or sympathisers are a mixed bunch. Some concentrate solely on the science, some on a synthesis of science and spirituality. Some, like me, don't claim to know, but are broadly sympathetic to the general idea that design in nature isn't accidental and that there is good scientific evidence to support that.

Whatever, ID isn't biblical creationism. Evolution in the sense of change over time is accepted, and some ID people are quite happy with the idea of common ancestry, though I'm not myself completely convinced of that. I think most agree that gradualistic natural selection of random mutations is at odds with the saltation in the fossil record, though at the micro level, the two probably have some role to play. Bernardo Kastrup thinks that natural selection works on non-random mutation, which is a possibility.
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

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#5
#7
There is evidence that not all mutations are random.
There appears to be evidence for adaptive mutations (although this is considered controversial).

The trick for IDers will be to identify nonrandom mutations that have no physical explanation.
"To date there is no such generally accepted mechanistic explanation of adaptive mutations." (source: Wikipedia: Alternative theories of quantum evolution)
 
#8
This is interesting. So, would you characterize Kastrup as a sympathizer (at least somewhat) with the ID movement.
Yes, and I said so to him in a post I made on Skeptiko fairly recently (see here). In his reply, he said "fair enough", adding:

Notice, however, that I am just emphasizing that the hypothesis cannot be discarded. I am not stating outright that the mutations aren't random. I don't know either way.

I am, however, inclined--based on subjective reasons -- to believe that they indeed aren't random.

I suppose that if one isn't convinced by the evidence that neo-Darwnism is the primary mechanism of evolution, ID might seem the only viable alternative. Whilst I think that many of ID's proponents are indeed Christian believers and that that accounts for their sympathy with it, I'd by no means label all of them that way.

For example, the philosopher Thomas Nagel isn't at all religious, but has some sympathy with, or at least tolerance for, ID, hence the disappointment with, even anger at, him, by many atheists for publishing Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False.

Then there are those who are staunch atheists who nonetheless aren't happy with the power of neo-Darwinism to explain evolution. They're searching for some other, purely mechanistic way of explaining it, but the hard problem of consciousness presents a formidable obstacle, since that is at odds with materialism.

I think the ideas of Robert Lanza and Bob Berman, as presented in Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe provide a splendid argument for considering consciousness to be primal in nature, and hence is at least compatible with ID, even though the authors might not overtly support it. I'd highly recommend their book: it contains some of the most lucid arguments against materialism (which after all is the philosophical underpinning of neo-Darwism) I've ever read.

The ferocity with which non-materialistic ideas are resisted is based, to no small extent, on a fear that the only alternative to materialism is a descent back into mediaeval religious superstition. This says more about their inflexibility of imagination than anything else--and, by the by, demonstrates their hidden motivation, which is every bit as biased as that of religious believers. Biocentrism encourages a viewpoint from which open-minded people can at least enter into a productive dialogue about the nature of reality without pinning their faith in one extreme, materialism, or the other, religionism.

As I see it, extreme materialism and extreme religionism aren't opposites, but different flavours of the same thing. Neither of them, really, are grounded in consideration of consciousness as the primal thing; one sees it as a (somewhat inconvenient) epiphenomenon; the other sees it as dualistic in another way--divided between the consciousness of God and the consciousness of sentient beings. Neither really grocs consciousness as being unified, and the dualism as merely a by-product of perception from a particular point of view. I think it's perfectly possible to have a rigorous science based on this: a science that is comfortable with lack of certainty; and it's perfectly possible to adhere to a religion that is likewise based on an acceptance of the relativity of belief.

Religion is an existential choice: choose whichever one feels most comfortable with, or indeed, whichever elements of several religions (or none) one feels most comfortable with, and extend that privilege to everyone else. If the human race adopted such an approach, straight away, the strife that dogmatism causes would be replaced with a more humble approach to the interpretation of reality, whatever it might turn out to be.
 
#9
I suppose that if one isn't convinced by the evidence that neo-Darwnism is the primary mechanism of evolution, ID might seem the only viable alternative. Whilst I think that many of ID's proponents are indeed Christian believers and that that accounts for their sympathy with it, I'd by no means label all of them that way.
Agreed. That's what I attempted to explain in the OP. As I understand it, the ID movement is not necessarily against evolution, just atheistic and/or materialistic evolution. Personally, I do not believe neo-Darwinian evolution is materialistic since it is based on random mutations that have no physical cause.
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

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#10
Agreed. That's what I attempted to explain in the OP. As I understand it, the ID movement is not necessarily against evolution, just atheistic and/or materialistic evolution. Personally, I do not believe neo-Darwinian evolution is materialistic since it is based on random mutations that have no physical cause.
Are you suggesting that physicalism cannot allow for truly random events? If that's true and you think there is some sort of cause underlying some or all random events, then which ones? Is every radioactive decay event caused by something?

What is immaterial evolution?

~~ Paul
 
#11
Agreed. That's what I attempted to explain in the OP. As I understand it, the ID movement is not necessarily against evolution, just atheistic and/or materialistic evolution. Personally, I do not believe neo-Darwinian evolution is materialistic since it is based on random mutations that have no physical cause.
Random mutations have a known cause. Random radiation from the cosmos.
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

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#12
The ferocity with which non-materialistic ideas are resisted is based, to no small extent, on a fear that the only alternative to materialism is a descent back into mediaeval religious superstition.
I doubt this is what many scientists worry about. I think they are more concerned with the inability to study, or even specify, what these immaterial proposals are. Take ID, for example. Has anyone ever proposed a research program other than fiddling around with some math? How would they, when there is no direct evidence of intelligent design other than inference from human design?

Elsberry and Shallit gave this challenge, which has not been addressed:

http://ncse.com/rncse/23/5-6/eight-challenges-intelligent-design-advocates

~~ Paul
 
#13
Are you suggesting that physicalism cannot allow for truly random events?
A truly random event doesn't have any mechanistic and therefore materialistic cause. Einstein clearly understood this. That was one of his problems with quantum indeterminism.

"The idea that an electron...by its own free decision chooses the moment and direction in which it wants to eject is intolerable to me. If that is so, I'd rather be a cobbler or a clerk in a gambling casino than a physicist." - Albert Einstein (source: pg. 574, "Albert Einstein" by Albrecht Fölsing, translated by Ewald Osers)
If that's true and you think there is some sort of cause underlying some or all random events, then which ones? Is every radioactive decay event caused by something?
I have already addressed this by citing Einstein's interpretation on what quantum indeterminism implies.

What is immaterial evolution?
Neo-Darwinian evolution (IMHO) is ultimately nonmaterialistc because it is based on random mutations which have no physical cause. For more details, I would suggest you consult the OP in my thread entitled "The Arguments "For" and "Against" Creative Intelligence (Human or Divine)."
 
#14
Random mutations have a known cause. Random radiation from the cosmos.
"The central feature of the quantum theory is indeterminism. The old physics linked all events in a tight chain-mesh of cause and effect. But on the atomic scale the linkage turns out to be loose and imprecise. Events occur without well-defined causes."

(source: pg. 135, "The Myth Matter" by Paul Davies - physicist)
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

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#15
A truly random event doesn't have any mechanistic and therefore materialistic cause. Einstein clearly understood this. That was one of his problems with quantum indeterminism.
It's an uncaused event. Why does every event have to be caused?

I have already addressed this by citing Einstein's interpretation on what quantum indeterminism implies.
It implies that he'd rather be a cobbler or a clerk. What does that have to do with my question?

The article you linked says nothing about quantum indeterminism.

Neo-Darwinian evolution (IMHO) is ultimately nonmaterialistc because it is based on random mutations which have no physical cause. For more details, I would suggest you consult the OP in my thread entitled "The Arguments "For" and "Against" Creative Intelligence (Human or Divine)."
So what is hidden in the apparent randomness? Some kind of intelligence poking specific mutations? How are we going to determine if that's the case?

~~ Paul
 
#16
It's an uncaused event. Why does every event have to be caused?
You asked why a random event does not qualify as materialism or physicalism. I explained it to you. Because a random event has no physical cause and therefore no physical explanation.

It implies that he'd rather be a cobbler or a clerk. What does that have to do with my question?
Previously, you asked: "If that's true and you think there is some sort of cause underlying some or all random events, then which ones?"

Einstein said (in regards to the implications of quantum indeterminism): "The idea that an electron...by its own free decision chooses the moment and direction in which it wants to eject is intolerable to me. If that is so, I'd rather be a cobbler or a clerk in a gambling casino than a physicist." - Albert Einstein (source: pg. 574, "Albert Einstein" by Albrecht Fölsing, translated by Ewald Osers)

You apparently chose to focus on the second sentence of the Einstein quote rather than the first one. Why is that? What is the "cause" underlying quantum indetermism? According to Einstein, it's the electron making a free decision.

The article you linked says nothing about quantum indeterminism.
You apparently didn't bothered to read it.

According to this interpretation, the probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics is not a temporary feature which will eventually be replaced by a deterministic theory, but instead must be considered a final renunciation of the classical idea of "causality." (source: Wikipedia: Quantum mechanics: Philosophical implications)

So what is hidden in the apparent randomness? Some kind of intelligence poking specific mutations? How are we going to determine if that's the case?
I have already furnished you with a link to the OP of my thread where I explained it. If you're truly interested, then I suggest you read it. Until then, don't bother replying.
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

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#17
You asked why a random event does not qualify as materialism or physicalism. I explained it to you. Because a random event has no physical cause and therefore no physical explanation.
It is true for every X that a random event has no X cause and therefore no X explanation. Uncaused events are perfectly acceptable in a physicalist framework or any other framework.

Previously, you asked: "If that's true and you think there is some sort of cause underlying some or all random events, then which ones?"

Einstein said (in regards to the implications of quantum indeterminism): "The idea that an electron...by its own free decision chooses the moment and direction in which it wants to eject is intolerable to me. If that is so, I'd rather be a cobbler or a clerk in a gambling casino than a physicist." - Albert Einstein (source: pg. 574, "Albert Einstein" by Albrecht Fölsing, translated by Ewald Osers)

You apparently chose to focus on the second sentence of the Einstein quote rather than the first one. Why is that? What is the "cause" underlying quantum indetermism? According to Einstein, it's the electron making a free decision.
Your bolded sentence isn't any more exciting. It's just Einstein expressing his opinion. And it almost certainly is not a "free decision" of the particle, in the usual sense of a decision. I think Einstein was being sarcastic.

You apparently didn't bothered to read it.
"According to this interpretation, the probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics is not a temporary feature which will eventually be replaced by a deterministic theory, but instead must be considered a final renunciation of the classical idea of "causality." (source: Wikipedia: Quantum mechanics: Philosophical implications)"

Sorry, I was looking for something that talked about problems with indeterminism. I can't figure out whether you're arguing for or against uncaused events.

I have already furnished you with a link to the OP of my thread where I explained it. If you're truly interested, then I suggest you read it. Until then, don't bother replying.
I've read it twice. You start with a description of free will that involves a possibility generator that works "in part indeterministically." At no point is it clear whether this indeterminism involves something other than randomness. Then you quote Mayr talking about evolution as a two-step process. Then there seems to be some sort of equivalence suggested between these two two-step processes. From this I'm to infer that god is hiding in the apparent randomness?

~~ Paul
 
#18
It is true for every X that a random event has no X cause and therefore no X explanation. Uncaused events are perfectly acceptable in a physicalist framework or any other framework.
Merriam-Webster defines "materialism" as "a theory that physical matter is the only or fundamental reality and that all being and processes and phenomena can be explained as manifestations or results of matter."

Since a random event has no physical cause, it logically follows that "all being and processes and phenomena can [not] be explained as manifestations or results of matter" (as you yourself have acknowledged above).

Your bolded sentence isn't any more exciting. It's just Einstein expressing his opinion.
It was an informed opinion made by an authority on the subject matter.

And it almost certainly is not a "free decision" of the particle, in the usual sense of a decision. I think Einstein was being sarcastic.
Einstein's protege David Bohm was clearly not being sarcastic.

"Even an electron has at least a rudimentary mental pole, respresented mathematically by the quantum potential." (source: pg. 387 "The Undivided Universe: An Ontological Interpretation of Quantum Theory" by David Bohm and B.J. Hiley)
And neither was Freeman Dyson.

"Every quantum experiment forces nature to make a choices. It appears that mind, as manifested by the capacity to make choices, is to some extent inherent in every electron." (source: pg. 297 "Infinite in All Directions" by Freeman Dyson)
Sorry, I was looking for something that talked about problems with indeterminism. I can't figure out whether you're arguing for or against uncaused events.
Indeterminism is only a problem for materialism for reasons I have already explained to you.

I've read it twice. You start with a description of free will that involves a possibility generator that works "in part indeterministically." At no point is it clear whether this indeterminism involves something other than randomness. Then you quote Mayr talking about evolution as a two-step process. Then there seems to be some sort of equivalence suggested between these two two-step processes. From this I'm to infer that god is hiding in the apparent randomness?
It would appear that you don't have the intellectual capacity to grasp that the first stage (of the two-stage model of free will) involves an aspect that is generated, in part, randomly. Although this has been explained repeatedly to you. You keep saying that "at no point is it clear whether this indeterminism involves soemthing other than randomness." What exactly aren't you getting? Indeterminism involves something random by definition.

Merriam-Webster "indetrminism" as "a theory that the will is free and that deliberate choice and actions are not determined by or predictable from antecedent causes" and "a theory that holds that not every event has a cause."

The bottom line is that Darwinian principles (random variation and natural selection) have been employed by skeptics to explain away not only divine agency but also human agency. So, what I'm basically arguing is that the skeptic can't have it both ways. If he uses Darwinian principles to explain away creative intelligence, then he is forced to acknowledge that he himself is without any creative intelligence. On the other hand, if he refuses to acknowledge that he is without any creative intelligence, then he will be forced to acknowledge that Darwinian evolution (whether it applies to biology or cosmology) involves a creative intelligence on a higher level.
 
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Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

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#19
Merriam-Webster defines "materialism" as "a theory that physical matter is the only or fundamental reality and that all being and processes and phenomena can be explained as manifestations or results of matter."

Since a random event has no physical cause, it logically follows that "all being and processes and phenomena can [not] be explained as manifestations or results of matter" (as you yourself have acknowledged above).
Why can't an uncaused event be a manifestation of matter?

None of this matters. Definitions of philosophical terms do not determine reality.

It was an informed opinion made by an authority on the subject matter.
Einstein didn't like action at a distance, either, but he's almost surely lost that battle.

Einstein's protege David Bohm was clearly not being sarcastic.
It's his opinion, since we are talking about interpretations of QM.

Indeterminism is only a problem for materialism for reasons I have already explained to you.
Who cares if it's a problem for some particular ontology?

It would appear that you don't have the intellectual capacity to grasp that the first stage (of the two-stage model of free will) involves an aspect that is generated, in part, randomly. Although this has been explained repeatedly to you. You keep saying that "at no point is it clear whether this indeterminism involves soemthing other than randomness." What exactly aren't you getting? Indeterminism involves something random by definition.
My intellectual capacity notwithstanding, I'm not asking whether indeterminism involves something random. I'm asking whether it involves anything that is not random, using the standard definition of random: not determined by anything, arbitrary, nothing more than coin flips.

By the way, whose two-stage model are you considering?

Merriam-Webster "indetrminism" as "a theory that the will is free and that deliberate choice and actions are not determined by or predictable from antecedent causes" and "a theory that holds that not every event has a cause."
That definition says nothing about how a free decision is made, other than to say it is not made (entirely?) deterministically.

The bottom line is that Darwinian principles (random variation and natural selection) have been employed by skeptics to explain away not only divine agency but also human agency. So, what I'm basically arguing is that the skeptic can't have it both ways. If he uses Darwinian principles to explain away creative intelligence, then he is forced to acknowledge that he himself is without any creative intelligence. On the other hand, if he refuses to acknowledge that he is without any creative intelligence, then he will be forced to acknowledge that Darwinian evolution (whether it applies to biology or cosmology) involves a creative intelligence on a higher level.
I have absolutely no idea why you reach such a conclusion.

~~ Paul
 
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#20
Why can't an uncaused event be a manifestation of matter?
I have already explained this to you. If it doesn't have a physical cause, then it doesn't have a physical explanation. And if you disagree, then we will have to agree to disagree.

None of this matters. Definitions of philosophical terms do not determine reality.
The bottom line is that materialism is not supported by contemporary physics. And if you don't agree, then we will have to agree to disagree.

Einstein didn't like action at a distance, either, but he's almost surely lost that battle.
Quantum entanglement doesn't have any physical explanation either.

It's his opinion, since we are talking about interpretations of QM.
The subject mattter of this thread is intelligent design. When prominent physicts are ascribing mentality (intelligence) to the fundamental constituents of physics, it's relevant.

Who cares if it's a problem for some particular ontology?
You do, because you keep arguing that indeterminism is not problematic for materialism and/or physicalism.

My intellectual capacity notwithstanding, I'm not asking whether indeterminism involves something random. I'm asking whether it involves anything that is not random, using the standard definition of random: not determined by anything, arbitrary, nothing more than coin flips.
I have presented you with the dictionary definition of indeterminism. If you still cannot wrap your mind around indeterminism and randomness, then we will have to leave it at that.

By the way, whose two-stage model are you considering?
Obviously, you didn't read my thread (as you had claimed).

That definition says nothing about how a free decision is made, other than to say it is not made (entirely?) deterministically.
I have provided you with a description of the two-stage model of free will that clearly explains how this is accomplished. So, if you still do not understand how it works, then I suggest you reread the description until you do.

I have absolutely no idea why you reach such a conclusion.
Well, since you are not able to comprehend how the two-stage model works, this doesn't surprise me.
 
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