Joined: May 2008
[quote=Jason Spaceman,April 28 2008,22:07][/quote]
|Q. So, you voluntarily stepped forward to offer an explanation for this little remark that he made that was over-interpreted?|
A. My statements about intelligent design are pretty straightforward. Itís not science and in no way should it be compared with science or discussed as a science topic.
It depends upon what is meant by science. It's not experimental science, but then neither is evolution. Darwin belongs to the Aristotelian tradition, the difference being that where Aristotle affirmed the existence of final causes, Darwin denies them. That's a legitimate position and one that Aristotle himself considered. But the claim, or at least the strong suggestion or implication on the part of modern scientists, that Darwin's theory is somehow different in character from Aristotle's "rational" or "philosophical" physics is false. Darwin didn't come to his theory by way of experimentation and falsification and all of that. He simply proposed an explanation designed to explain the appearances based upon principles he accepted as true, the same way Aristotle himself did.
So the argument isn't between moderns and ancients, or the enlightened and the benighted. It's an argument about the existence of final causes--an argument that is perfectly appropriate to science, inasmuch as it is first by observation of the things of sense that we come to an understanding of causation. Thus, it is in The Physics that Aristotle proves, or at the very least claims to prove, the existence of his four causes. But Biology is a species of Physics; that is, in the order of the sciences, Biology, the science of material being possessing life, falls under the genus Physics, the science of material being in general.
Now Darwin, either intentionally or simply as a matter of fact, takes as his principles those asserted by modern mathematical physics--for causes, he accepts only three: the material, the formal, and the efficient cause, or agent. That's fair enough, and his theory, at least superficially, seems to follow well enough from that. But now along comes ID, which does nothing more than claim to prove the existence of final causality from the evidence provided by material beings possessing life and rival biologists want to scream that such activity is outside the bounds of acceptability. Well, it's not. ID may or may not be a conclusive argument, but it's not outside the bounds of Biology, nor does it conclude to a creator.
The proof that it does not conclude to a creator is obvious: Aristotle, who affirmed the existence of final causes, did not, in the Physics (nor even in the Metaphysics), conclude that a creating God existed. Aristotle, for example, concluded that the universe was eternal, so he clearly did not believe in a God who created the world. He did necessarily affirm that some principle or principles existed that accounted for the nature of things, but it had to wait 15 centuries for St. Thomas Aquinas to prove--based upon Christian revelation, which was unavailable to Aristotle and is in any case accepted on faith--that that principle was the God of Abraham. Thus, even if some ID proponents do, on a personal level, identify the final causality which they assert exists with God or the gods or whatever, they do not do it qua Biologists; i.e. they do not do it within the science of Biology. Rival biologists therefore have no legitimate grounds on which to object to their argument (other than that they do not find it persuasive).
To further show that IDers not only don't, but can't, prove, nor claim to prove, the existence of God in their argument, one needs only look at the parallel case of evolutionists. Evolutionary biologists don't claim to disprove the existence of God in their assumption of only three causes, nor could they credibly do so. They--the honest ones, anyway--affirm that such conclusions, even if warranted, belong to a different science: either Theology or Metaphysics or both. But what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Thus, it is dishonest for evolution proponents to continue with their charges that IDers are "creationists" whose argument does not belong within the science of Biology. IDers may be wrong, and/or their argument may not be conclusive (as a matter of fact, it's not conclusive), but it's not by any means illegitimate.
|And as far as evolution is concerned, itís inconceivable that we could be where we are in our understanding of biology if we didnít have evolution as a guiding intellectual tool.|
I suppose it will fall upon deaf ears to point out that if our understanding of biology depends upon affirming the theory of evolution, and if that theory ultimately turns out to false, there can never have been any "understanding" of biology. Imagine if this guy were a contemporary of Ptolemy's and made the above remark with regard to Ptolemy's geocentric theory of the heavens, which "worked" but ultimately didn't reflect the actual organization of reality...would you be as enthusiastic for it then?