IDists re-confirm they don’t understand science

Cornelius Hunter writes at Evolution News & Views:

In the recently published booklet Science, Evolution, and Creationism, the National Academy of Sciences claims that science must be limited to naturalistic explanations:

In science, explanations must be based on naturally occurring phenomena. Natural causes are, in principle, reproducible and therefore can be checked independently by others. If explanations are based on purported forces that are outside of nature, scientists have no way of either confirming or disproving those explanations. (p. 10)

Seems reasonable to me. Natural explanations for natural phenomena – that’s science. But if you’re an ID creationist it’s not fair that supernatural explanations are ruled out. Those big mean scientists just won’t let you play too.

Evolutionists have always been dogmatic about naturalism. They believe that science must, in principle, be absolutely constrained to naturalistic explanations.

It’s not just evolutionists (I assume he means biologists) who deal exclusively in natural explanations.  All scientists deal exclusively in natural explanations.  When you start explaining things with magic and the supernatural, you cease to be a scientist.  It’s that simple.

[H]ow did life evolve? The booklet explains that there are no consensus hypotheses for this remarkable event, and that evolutionists are searching a variety of ideas. “Researchers have shown how this process might have worked,” write the authors. For “if a molecule … could reproduce … perhaps with the assistance … it could form … if such self-replicators … they might have formed … could lead to variants” and so forth. (p. 22) The evidence for the origin of life is packed with question marks.

There is nothing wrong with speculation when it comes to science.  People have different (and competing) ideas which must be tested as new evidence comes in.  The difference between scientists and creationists is that scientists will admit when they are speculating and when the evidence is inconclusive.  Creationists on the other hand ‘know’ the answers to the unsolved questions of science, and if those evil atheist scientists would just open the Bible they too would know the answers.

This unfortunately is characteristic of how the National Academy of Sciences informs the reader of the biological evidence for evolution. While some legitimate evidences are presented, the booklet repeatedly presents speculations and interpretations according to the theory as strong evidences for the theory. And it consistently ignores the many negative evidences.

And these ‘negative evidences’ are repeatedly shown to be nothing of the sort by real scientists.  The ‘negative evidences’ are appeals to ignorance and god-of-the-gaps arguments.  Incomplete understandings of the natural world do not (and never will) constitute a valid argument in favour of ID creationism.

ID creationists are losing this battle.  Despite their frequent and certain pronouncements that evolution is on the way out, they continue to fail in making any ground against real scientists.  Despite these failings, they will ramp-up the public relations campaign and hope that the public is as ignorant about science as they are.


~ by Sammy Jankis on February 14, 2008.

2 Responses to “IDists re-confirm they don’t understand science”

  1. Incomplete understandings of the natural world do not (and never will) constitute a valid argument in favour of ID creationism.

    As PZ Myers remarked in a recent debate with a creationist, “Your ignorance is not evidence.”

    The M.O. of the propagandist is to marshal whatever rhetorical resources one has at one’s disposal to persuade people to accept one’s dogmatic presuppositions. I.D./creationists begin with a set of dogmatic presuppositions about the world, and use whatever means are necessary to convince people to accept them. Even if the means contradict each other.

    So on the one hand, the ID/creationists whine about the fact that science restricts itself to methodological naturalism. And yet in the same breath they berate the National Academy of Sciences for ignoring so-called “negative evidences”–i.e. so-called evidence against evolution. Isn’t that naturalism (i.e. using evidence to test a theory)? So naturalism’s evil–except where it can be marshaled in support of the ID/creationists’ antipathy to evolution.

    That’s not science. That’s propaganda.

    If, as the creationists maintain, science should not limit itself to natural explanations for natural phenomena, then all bets are off. The apparition of Jesus on a cheese toastie falsifies evolution, and if you think that makes no sense, that’s because you’re being dogmatic about naturalism.

  2. I just thought I’d point out that the creationists in this example went from small-evidence speculation for biogenesis, directly to evolution, thus conflating biogenesis and evolution. This is a common rhetorical trick employed by creationists; evolution is not, nor has it ever been dependent upon any particular theory of biogensis and is even compatible with a number of Old Earth Creationist accounts of the origin of life (not that I personally entertain these OEC views of the origin or life, nor do the OECs make a song and dance about the origin of life not being a problem for evolution to solve).

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