Tuesday, August 26, 2008

DaveScot and religion, again

DaveScot responds with a blog post to a comment made over at UncommonlyDense that argues that religious belief is the motor behind ID.

DaveScot replies:

Guilt by association is a logical fallacy.

You can’t ask any ID proponents to give up their religious faith anymore than you can ask an atheist Darwinist to acquire some religious faith. That isn’t how science works.

However, since I’m not a religious person I can quite easily give up any notion that the designer of either the universe or of life itself is a deity. I have no data on the nature of the designer other than what I can determine through the nature of the design.

As far as criticizing ID based on the religious beliefs of a number of its proponents (nearly all of them, actually), DaveScot is correct, it is a logical fallacy. This doesn't mean that ID isn't some sort of religious belief (it is, as I argue below), but it means we shouldn't determine that based on the beliefs of its supporters.

For the same reason, modern evolutionary theory shouldn't be criticized for being supported by a number of atheists (of course, not all supporters are: Ken Miller, Brown University professor and author of one of the most popular biology high school textbooks, is a Catholic -- as is Michael Behe, supporter of ID, to name but one example).

But DaveScot says "I’m not a religious person," a claim that rings hollow given his recent post that correlates ID as proof of God's existence and his claim that ID has a creator.

Here he supports that there was a designer and that designer, while he does not (he compulsively cannot) say it, is a stand in for God. It is an argument from ignorance as well (logical fallacy):

The counter-claim that chance & necessity is capable of the necessary tasks has not been demonstrated. It has not been shown that small mutations can ever accumulate into significant novel functional architectures that we observe in living things today. It has not been shown feasible by computer simulations of population genetics, in a laboratory, or in field observation.

Yes because something "has not been demonstrated" doesn't mean it didn't happen (he applies this rule to ID as well). Science does not work by giving up and suggesting that something supernatural (by definition, the designer is supernatural since there are no "natural" (naturalist is perhaps more appropriate) proofs of its existence) accounted for

directing or steering the course of organic evolution.

In accepting the concept of ID and the concomitant designer behind it, DaveScot is showing that he may not be religious (i.e., he doesn't go to church, pray, read the Bible, what have you), but he certainly believes in something.

In a previous post (commented here on this blog), he states,

So what exactly do they “see” that convinces them that God’s hand is all over the place? Obviously it isn’t rational evidence that can weighed, measured, or otherwise rationally evaulated because that would be science and furthermore it would be the science behind intelligent design.

Here he unequivocally connects "God's hand" with "the science behind intelligent design." If "the science behind intelligent design" shows its supporters "that God's hand is all over the place" -- then why doesn't he believe in God? He may say he doesn't believe in God and he may not even be lying (he may be confused; in order to lie one has to have awareness of an objective reality), but he is certainly confused, unless he doesn't really "believe" the science behind ID. If that's the case, he's just feeding off the money of Christians, just like the televangelists, et al.

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