VoyForums Notice -- Quick Contributions:
Donate $10 to the Red Cross: Text the word REDCROSS to 90999
Donate $10 to the Salvation Army: Text the word STORM to 80888
* The charge will appear on your cellphone bill.
Next Thread |
Previous Thread |
Next Message |
Date Posted:10/ 9/04 3:10pm In reply to:
's message, "Show me the money, Wade" on 10/ 4/04 12:34am
>>Introducing a major paradigm-toppling
>>theory into peer review isn't likely to have immediate
>>success due to the tenacity of scientists, even if
>>there's no real good scientific reason to
>Also, trying to submit a metaphysical argument with
>scant (if any) evidence as science is also not likely
>to have immediate success.
What metaphysical argument? If anything, philosophical arguments are used by ID opponents (e.g. short-cut victories).
>>To get a brief taste of this issue of
>>peer-review and ID theory, I recommend you go to here, where you see a
>>correspondence between Behe and a publisher. Note
>>also that one of the persons whom he corresponded with
>>was "painfully aware of the close-mindedness of the
>>scientific community to non-orthodoxy."
>Yeah - I read it. Here's one of my favorite quotes
>from that person:
>"Metaphysicians who want science to speak out in favor
>of their beliefs, if not demonstrate them, are already
>put in a tight spot by the science of yesterday and
>have nothing to fear more than the science of tomorrow.
>In this referee's judgment, the manuscript of Michael
>Behe does not contribute anything useful to
The problem is that the referee rejected it on very tenuous grounds. For instance, what the @#$% was metaphysical about it? And what scientific grounds was it rejected on?
As Behe said [emphasis added],
Well, I guess I should have expected it, but I have to admit I'm disappointed. For the record I'd like to point out that the "senior [journal] advisor" who reviewed my recent submission ("Obstacles to gene duplication . . .") didn't react to my actual arguments in the paper, but to associations he made. The manuscript did not argue for intelligent design, nor did it say that complex systems would never be explained within Darwinian theory. Rather, it just made the simple, obvious, and unarguable point that gene duplication by itself is an incomplete explanation. Apparently, however, my skepticism about Darwinism overshadowed all other points. Everything I wrote beyond the first sentence was pretty much ignored or dismissed without engagement. I should also point out that, on the one hand, my paper discussed published experiments on specific genes in the clotting cascade of mice, the published misinterpretation of those experiments, and why that shows we need more information than sequence similarity to explain the origin of the cascade and other systems. The senior advisor, on the other hand, discussed our "glorious age" of biology, the history of science, how the world has "an intelligence much greater than our intelligence," God as "a being that combines consciousness, will, and universal power," and so on. Yet he thinks he's being scientific and I'm being metaphysical. Go figure.
Evidently the referee's tenacity and emotion completely overshadowed his judgment. My point in showing this correspondence was that there was no real scientific objection to what Behe was trying to publish. If anything, the problem was philosophical. With an attitude like this permeating mainstream science, I don't think I can reasonably expect peer-reviewed scientific journals to accept (perhaps) anything close to ID theory. It threatens too much the current, deeply-rooted paradigm. The tenacity of scientists will prevent the new paradigm from coming in immediately. If the old paradigm continues to fail in solving its problems, ID will eventually be accepted I think. But we can't expect the old paradigm to go without a fight, even if there's no scientific reason to disbelieve the new paradigm.
>If Behe were right in spite of all, it would become
>apparent in due time through failures of science.
Eventually, yes. Nonetheless, there's no denying that the old paradigm as a lot of unresolved problems with it. I can understand why a minority think we should accept a new paradigm that solves--and even predicts--those kinds of problems.
>would be very much out of place to denounce such
>failures now, since they have not occurred.
Ignoring the problems don't make them go away!
>Meanwhile, metaphysicians should spare
>scientists their metaphysics and just let the
>scientists do their work--or join them in doing it."
>I think it's pretty clear that, while this person
>understood the weaknesses of peer review, he or she
>also understood the non-scientific nature of Behe's
>work, as evidenced by this quote.
What are you talking about? Did you even know what Behe was trying to get published? Or did you only read what the peer-reviewer (who completely glossed over the actual arguments) had to say?
>I really don't know why the Discovery Institute
>published these remarks as though they somehow were
>beneficial to ID. Unless they're trying to elevate
>the "persecuted status" rating of Behe and his
>attempts to push his metaphysical beliefs as natural
I suggest you read the correspondence more carefully, especially what Behe said.
>In fact, I'm not sure why you pointed me to this page,
To show that the rejection of scientific papers isn't exactly for "scientific" reasons. The peer-reviewer for instance didn't even address the scientific merit, but rejected it for (apparently) philosophical reasons.
>>The "upper tier" ID
>>movement is more respectable, but is understandably
>>having a difficult time publishing in mainstream
>Yeah - because they haven't done anything new
Behe has with his irreducible complexity, Dembski has with his explanatory filter etc.
In any case, whether or not it's new is irrelevant. The new paradigm solves the problems that the old paradigm has failed to do. For this and other reasons ID should not be tossed aside via a short-cut victory.
>>It seems to "outlandish" for
>>many people. Research is still being done, but again
>>not in mainstream circles. ID (in its more legitimate
>>scientific form) is still in its initial phases.
>Well, that's fine - so let me get this straight:
>You're saying the reason that there's no evidence for
>ID yet is becuase it's still a very new idea?
I didn't say there's no evidence for ID theory. There is some evidence for ID theory, e.g the major prediction that has been repeatedly confirmed for several decades.
>>I don't think it's the result of any conspiracy. On
>>the contrary, ID theorists have tried to publish their
>>ideas. The problem is this little thing called
>>tenacity that has been observed throughout the history
>Actually, the problem is this little thing called,
See the correspondence I pointed out. The reasons it was rejected had very little to do with "evidence."
>>Many opponents of ID
>>recognize the problems with the non-ID paradigm, but
>>continue to say that they will eventually be solved (a
>>common response when a paradigm faces a difficulty).
>>We may have to wait a few decades to see if this
>>really is the case (and this wait may be quite
>And likewise, how long will we have to wait for any
>sort of evidence for the Intelligent Designer to be
If there's no evidence for ID theory, it of course should be rejected. But I don't think that's the case. It has several advantages over the old paradigm. Even if we should wait a while to see if we can solve the problems with the old paradigm, it is hardly rational to pretend that an alternative doesn't have any merit.
>There was never any "new"
>empirical fact that prompted the creation of ID.
See above on solving the problems of the old paradigm.
>>What about the irreducible complexity of, say, the
>The concept of "irreducible complexity" is one that
>you'd only accept if you were already a proponent of
>ID theory. Before you can offer it as evidence, you'd
>need to demonstrate that it exists. And, so far,
>"irreducible complexity" has been observed to exist
>only in the creative imaginations of ID proponents.
I don't know that what you say is true. Go to page 82 and see figure 4-3 of Behe's book. What part can be removed and yet the system can still function? If all the parts are needed for it to effectively function, then it is irreducibly complex by definition. Irreducible complexity by itself doesn't mean ID, but (Behe thinks) it's pretty strong evidence for it, and problematic for gradualist theories.
>The whole basis of "irreducible complexity" is hardly
>an appropriate conclusion when molecular biology has
>existed for, what, half a century? I mean, think
>about this criterion rationally, Wade. It can only be
>applied where we haven't figured out a plausible
>scenario for the evolution of the system.
Sounds like you're misunderstanding irreducible complexity. Irreducible complexity is a valid claim for a biochemical system if it meets the requisite criteria (e.g. all parts are needed, if any one of them is removed the system effectively ceases to function).
>Let me ask you this: Say ID proponents claim a given
>system is "irreducibly complex." Then we later find a
>very plausible, rigorous mechanism by which it
>probably evolved. What then?
Then the problem has been resolved, and this prediction of ID theory would have been falsified. ID cannot (under its current model) reasonably claim that it was designed.
But saying this with words is a lot easier than actually showing me the money. I'm skeptical it will ever be done, but I'm somewhat uncertain. That's why I think we should do some further testing to confirm the ID prediction. Physical laws could similarly be disproved at any moment (theoretically) that's why they are rigorously tested before they are accepted.
Now answer me this question, how long should we put up with the problems of the current paradigm before we switch to the new one? A decade? Thirty years? Never?
>How does it work, Wade? Tell me, please. How many
>times does ID theory need to be wrong before you'll
>admit it's false?
Depends on the circumstances. If we've only proved one part of it wrong, then we've only proved one part of it wrong. If however we show that something evolved naturally, whereas the current problems with the old paradigm continue to be unresolved regarding the origins of life (and ID’s prediction regarding the origin of life continues to be confirmed), then it hasn't yet been shown that ID theory is false regarding the origins of life.
>>What about the fact that we have yet
>>to solve the problems of abiogenesis?
>As far as I know, ID says nothing useful or rigorous
>about the origins of life.
Nothing useful? It solves the problem of the old paradigm, it even predicts that such problems would occur. It makes a testable, major prediction. It explains the highly sophisticated biochemical machinery, the information-rich content etc.
Pretending the new paradigm doesn't have its merits won't make them go away.
>Well, actually, the current "RNA world" hypothesis
>shows promise - naturally-occurring RNA molecules have
>been observed as having very complex capabilities -
>ones that probably helped to generate the complexities
>of life that we see today.
Shows promise to you perhaps. There are still a lot of problems with it, like how the RNA could be produced naturally to begin with. RNA has nucleotides, which themselves have building blocks, and the processes that form the components are not chemically compatible.
>Doe ID have ANY theory comparable to this? If not, ID
>is actually INFERIOR to evolutionary biology with
>regards to abiogenesis.
Does the fact that it explains and predicts chemical problems with abiogenesis make ID an inferior explanation? Or does it show that ID has at least some merit even if it shouldn’t be accepted yet?
>>Or is your
>>response that "we'll solve these problems eventually"?
>Well, my response is more like, "We're solving them as
I've already quoted the non-ID scientist that said we've encountered more problems than solutions. And what I've read so far doesn't sound all that promising. Numerous current theories are bankrupt. Now if the problems end up being solved, fine. Then the old paradigm should be accepted. But if they continue to be unsolved, then the old paradigm should be junked and the new paradigm should be accepted.
My question is, how long should we wait? One abiogenesis adherent said 30 years. How about you?
>If we were
>at a total dead-end, just scratching our heads, I'd be
>more inclined to say that we might not eventually
We've reached a number of dead-ends (so far, e.g. chemical incompatibility, chance being an impotent explanation, the reliance not not-yet discovered natural laws to solve the problem), hollow victories notwithstanding.
>What has ID
>been doing? Solving problems like this?
>>>All it is is an alternate, possible explanation for
>>>existing observed phenomena - that we already have a
>>>perfectly good explanation for!!!
>>No we don't!!! Even the critics of Behe acknowledge
>>that the systems he describes are extremely complex
>>and currently unexplained [by the current paradigm].
>Uh... And how does ID explain them any better?
It solves the problems of the old paradigm, it predicts that such problems would occur. Think back to the robot-on-Pluto example. How does ID explain it any better? Because (at least in part) it solves the problems of the it-all-happened-without-artificial-intervention idea.
>So you want to replace what we don't know with an
>explanation that, BY YOUR OWN ADMISSION is not
I still find it amazing how much non-ID adherents continue distort the opposition, perhaps due to fervent emotion affecting their judgment. I did not say ID is not scientifically testable. I've been saying the exact opposite! Please be a bit more careful.
>>We don't have any good explanations how (e.g. the
>>blood cascade, the origins of life) via non-artificial
>As for the clotting cascade, please see papers listed
I'll bet they don't solve the problems. Confer what I said about the admission from Behe's critics.
>>If so, I suggest you be a part of the process in
>>refuting the prediction of ID (though I suspect you
>>will only continue to confirm it) by actively finding
>>a possible means the systems could have been developed
>>(abiogenesis, biochemical systems etc.).
>So basically, Behe proposed ID, suggested that the
>clotting cascade was "irreducibly complex" and then
>sat back, waiting to be disproven.
I don't think he expects to be. Either the blood cascade is irreducibly complex or it isn't. Go back to page 82.
>>ignoring the problems and pretending we have a
>>“perfectly good explanation” will not do anybody any
>And why do you think that these gaps in the theory of
>evolutionary biology are being ignored?
I'm saying you apparently ignored them when you said there is a “perfectly good explanation.” There isn't. That's why the minority of scientists have switched over to a new paradigm that explains and predicts the current problems with the old paradigm.
>Your claim that these things are NOT being researched
>is ignorant of the facts.
Again, unintentionally distorting the opposition. I was referring to you alone about ignoring the problems when you said there was a perfectly good explanation. Such a statement of course ignores the problems and pretends they don't exist. Because if they existed, there obviously wouldn't be a perfectly good explanation.
>>>So I must assume that since I've eliminated every
>>>possible scientific reason that Intelligent Design
>>>theory would have been created for
>>You missed a few. To see one scientific reason,
>>confer what I said about an alternate answer to the
>>currently accepted paradigm.
>Right - that was my point exactly. An "alternate"
>explanation better have some sort of positive evidence
>to back it up. ID has no such thing.
And the fact that it solves the problem of the old paradigm, has made a repeatedly confirmed major prediction for several decades etc. doesn't constitute any modicum of positive evidence? In that case, I don't see any positive evidence for evolution. Go ahead, show me the money. (I'll be playing devil's advocate to be sure, since I believe there's evidence for evolution; nonetheless perhaps it will be better to show a different point of view).
>ID is merely a re-interpretation of existing data -
>and one that includes a strong assumption that no
>other scientific theory includes: the existence of a
>being that somehow created certain aspects of life
Abiogenesis also contains a strong assumption: the existence of natural processes that somehow created certain aspects of life. You're going to need some justification why your assumption is better (especially in the light of certain problems).
>odd how that Intelligent Designer
>left some things up to chance (i.e., evolution), but
>took the time to design others. Why do you think that
>is, Wade? Seriously - why?
There are several possible answers, but we can only speculate on that matter.
>Look - ID proponents (including yourself) seem to
>refuse to accept the following simple explanation for
>the gaps in evolutionary theory:
>"Molecular biology and the techniques used to study it
>have only been available in the last few decades.
>There are so many aspects of life, its origins, and
>its evolution that we simply haven't gotten to them
>all yet! It's not that we've hit some brick wall
>where we are unable to progress further - we're
>progressing daily! It's just that there's a lot of
>things to figure out, and we've only been at it a
Because there are some apparent brick walls that they haven't been able to get through, e.g. how to get AMP for the first cells that had it. One theory is what I'll call the A -> B -> C -> D scenario. The existence of intermediate compounds to get the molecule. The brick wall? It's been nearly 60 years, and we still don't have any real names of real chemicals for those mythical letters, because (at least in part) we’d have to come up with real chemical reactions to get those intermediate compounds. And the problems with the A -> B -> C -> D scenario are numerous and still unresolved.
Now you may say the old paradigm will eventually solve this problem and break through the apparent wall we’ve hit. My question, how long should we wait before switching to a paradigm that does?
>It's absurd. What's even more absurd is the fact that
>ID proponents don't do ANY RESEARCH to support ID
Yes, the idea that ID proponents don't do any research is indeed absurd. The opposite is true.
>I mean, the
>ID crowd has got to be the laziest bunch of
>"scientists" I've ever heard of if this is the case.
I think it's very interesting to see the tenacity of scientists at work here. We have an old paradigm with numerous problems, yet abandoning the old paradigm is called "lazy." We have a new paradigm that solves and even predicts those sorts of problems. But the paradigm is rejected often for non-scientific reasons, and the majority claim we should stick with the current paradigm and continue to try and solve its problems. This tenacity is not new in science. Are you at least aware that this tenacity exists?
>Is this the case Wade? If it's not, show me some
>research done in support of ID - names of papers,
>published studies, unpublished studies - I don't
Think about it. ICR--the lower tier--routinely does research with its own theories. Why do you assume that ID adherents don't do the same? William Dembski has done considerable research for the concept of ID and published it in his book called The Design Inference. This book has sometimes been trounced upon using the same diversionary tactics (though probably used unintentionally and inflamed by indignant and overzealous emotions) the peer-reviewer I pointed out above.