Splitting Scientific Hairs For Bad Reasons

July 10, 2013

split end

You can see the crux of the discussion in the debate at:

36:00 – 1:11:45

I found this to be a very good dialogue because it entails many truths about science, history, and philosophy which you wont hear too often these days. Both Barr and Behe make many great points, and surely have much to agree upon. Barr rightly sees the value of philosophy and theology, as the medeivals did, and is something which is lost today in our broad society. However, I wanted to point out what I believe to be a note-worthy inconsistency in Barr’s reasoning. He argues that wherever there are philosophical implications of science in the science classroom it either ceases to be science, or that such philosophical implications should never be overtly taught in the classroom.

For example, to him ID should not be taught because of the philosophical implications. Now ID does not necessarily imply theism or philosophy. ID says that some things are intelligently caused or better explained by an intelligent cause. This sentence was intelligently caused. It does not necessarily imply theism or philosophy for you to infer this.

In addition, saying that human life evolved through an unguided process has atheistic implications, thus the wording “unguided” or “unplanned” should be left out. Barr agrees to this. Behe also mentions that Eugenie Scott had these terms taken out of textbooks because to her “natural processes are unguided anyways”. Yet, we could just as well say that “natural processes can also be guided”. What if aliens planted us here? That would be natural. What if an eternal being (=God) created us? That would be natural. In the end “natural” can only mean “what really happened”, so it just begs the question of reality for naturalists to assume what is and isn’t “natural”.

I find this to be a very inconsistent, arbitrary, and ultimately confusing standard. As I like to point out, ID can be inferred via methodological naturalism, apart from being a philosophical statement. ID is an inescapable part of human experience. Barr even used the example of Stone Hendge. We don’t put it in the geography text books as being caused by erosion because we know it was designed. This type of detection is part of methodological naturalism; no philosophy required. But if inferring ID implies philosophy then to be logically consistent Barr would have to say the same about Stone Hendge. We infer that Stone Hendge was designed, all design inference is philosophical, thus we must put Stone Hendge in philosophy class. Of course this is ridiculous, but that is the logical conclusion to what Barr is saying, if in fact ID is philosophy and not science.

In addition, this type of standard is arbitrary because it assumes for no good reason that philosophy can’t and/or shouldn’t mesh, merge, or overlap with science in any way whatsoever. I have a simple question to ask: “Why?” There is what is called ‘philosophy of science’. In fact, scientists can’t help but also be philosophers to some degree, no matter how hard we try to compartmentalize these disciplines in the 21st century. One cannot escape philosophical implications from studying reality, hence final causation as one major reason, namely, what something is designed “for”.

An eye is “for” seeing, not that it merely “does” see. Strict naturalists realized that they were treading among philosophy-land after they used language like “nature “wanted” the eye to see”, etc. implying consciousness within nature. So once they caught onto this, or were called out on it by philosophers and theists, they began to change their vocabulary of the mechanistic process. Terms like “selective pressures” are now used. What is sufficient to select the change and why? Mindless pressures are. These vocabulary changes would take away the undertones of intention — leaving only the appearance of intention, foresight, and design.

I digress by mentioning that it shouldn’t matter if there are philosophical implications, vocabulary, or undertones within the public science class. These implications will actually broaden and deepen our understanding of science and reality. Even Einstein spent the last 30 years of his life trying to discover a theory of everything by asking, “if I were god, how would I have created the universe”, hence him saying “god doesn’t play dice with the universe”, which implies ID and final causation. Does anyone ever argue that Einstein wasn’t being scientific because he thought about it from an ID standpoint? No.

So rejecting philosophy of science is just another reason on the list as to why public schools in America in the 21st century are a joke. Apart from the lack of discipline and respect the kids have, the lawsuits, the political correctness wars, the popularity contests, the distractions of sports, dances, drugs, and sex, the trillions of dollars of debt, the poor test scores and the violence, the mandatory brain-washed wedge between science and philosophy is just one more ridiculous thing we run our kids through. This is why I now believe we should avoid public schools like the plague if possible for love of our kids.

There’s no good reason to drive an absolute wedge between science and philosophy any more than we drive a wedge between philosophy and political science, or philosophy and sociology, etc. There’s only an outcry when this is done within the science class. How is this clearly not an agenda to underhandedly teach naturalism? Naturalism is the default paradigm. We don’t even touch on theories of the origin of life in biology class in the public school. If we did then ID would be more prevalent due to common sense.  All that is allowed to be mentioned is a brief mention of the profoundly incomplete Urey/Miller experiment.

The Darwinian Evolution blinders will not be allowed to be removed or challenged with things like final causation, profound fine-tuning, staggering contingency within nature, nor inference to ID — even though these are all most certainly part of science and reality.

In conclusion, this is why the “scientific standards” of today are not only arbitrary and confusing, but are inconsistent to anyone who is willing to go to the end of their thought.


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