Arguments about knowledge rooted in brains shaped by ignorance.

Over at AiG Busted:

Someone made the argument that buildings are analogous to the design in living things which drew a common reply:

“No, buildings are something we routinely observe human beings building, so there’s no question that they were designed.”

I wondered why there’s no question so I asked:

Why do you say that they were designed if the biological brains that supposedly designed them have their roots in blind, unthinking processes? You claim to recognize the “design” of “intelligent” beings when evolution easily explains the illusion of intelligence in terms of unthinking, unknowing processes.

____

I’m not sure why some treat self-evident truths that are evident in being an intelligent being as glaringly obvious while also arguing that the “universal acid” of Darwinism can and must be used to “explain” away all intelligence in the name of science/knowledge. If science is shifted away from the pursuit of the truth and instead towards the pursuit of “natural” explanations then all knowledge must be explained in terms of ignorant and blind processes. Only people who are willing to lose their minds will agree with the original shift away from the search for truth.

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22 Responses

  1. Great post! I was banned over there! I guess AIG couldn’t handle the discussion. I find this type of closed mindedness on a regular basis from Darwinians!

  2. Some things just can’t be proven scientifically, unless we are to allow for mind as being admissible as evidence. And I think mind is applicable, because we can emprically observe acts and artifacts of mind existing in nature (ie: I chose to write that. Now I will make a peanut butter sandwich and ingest it. Then I will plant some flowers, clean the garage, and compose some music).

    For example, can you prove scientifically that you love your children? What specific, objective naturalistic criteria would you establish in order to test for that? Maybe everyone you know who can observe your behavior may say, “Of course! It’s common sense, just look at how he loves them – it’s self-evident!”. But Darwinist science refuses to acknowledge such self-evident observations. It observes the materialistic results of a mind freely choosing to Love (kids are clothed and fed, say) and attributes those results to blind, unguided naturalistic mechanisms (there must be a gene, that must have evolved, that provides some sort of ‘nurturing instinct’).

    And that’s no different from observing the materialistic results of a mind freely choosing to Create, and attributing those results also to blind, unguided naturalistic mechanisms.

    But ID takes “mind” into account. It’s a far more robust platform upon which to base theories that actually fit our self-evident reality.

    The biologist tossing out “mind” is sort of like the mathematician tossing out “infinity”, and re-writing all his equations accordingly.

  3. ID takes both mind and matter into account without the distortion that comes from trying to “view” things as purely material. It may be that form is mind and matter cannot exist without form. It’s a difficult subject that needs to be approached with an open mind. Yet an open mind is what is sorely lacking among Darwinists, as they are trained to reduce all specification, species and form to matter.

    On another note, it seems like the Darwinist over at AiG Busted is swatting at mental projections of patterns he recognizes in himself (“You don’t understand things.” “You only read one side.” Etc.) from within the womb of his metaphoric Mother Nature. I should probably try to be nicer because it seems to me that a rational mind falls into an emotional body and people project when they have negative feeeelings. But being nice creates good feelings and more good feelings = less projection and false pattern recognition as a mind judges its own soul. “Logs and specks…” Etc. What do you think Mike?

  4. It could very well be that matter reduces to mind anyway. But what is matter? You can break it apart into smaller and smaller bits until you’re basically left with an intelligent energy that sustains and animates it:

    Just think about what makes your heart beat: You can keep peeling back the physical layers – from the involuntary muscle contractions, to what the cells involved in that must do, to what the celluar mechanisms must do etc… down to the level of what every atomic particle in every molecule must do, which electrons have to jump, etc…. Eventually, you’re completely out of the known materialistic realm, and left with explaining this apparent energy that seems to have a will to sustain life.

    And the NT tells us it all resides in the Mind of Christ, through whom everything was made and is sustained. (and if we exist as a sort of “hologram” in the mind of God, then how is it ever possible to be out of that mind? It’s not! And that’s rather comforting. That’s probably why God knows how many hairs are on your head, and whenever a sparrow falls, as the NT tells us)

    Doesn’t quantum mechanics say that a sub-atomic particle is neither matter nor energy, but both? “Particle Duality”! How’s that for the body/spirit fusion being the “natural” state of things? (….and God breathed into him and the man became a living soul….)

    Regarding being nice: I suppose you can always throw back the “survival of the nastiest” argument to a Darwinist, since their philosophical position demands that they accept it. But Christians are supposed to play nice?

    Not necessarily:

    In the documentary “Collision” :

    So what was Wilson thinking when he quoth the atheists’ naturalism as, “Shit happens”? You can bet it was thinking indeed—calculated precisely for audience and timing in order to produce the most coveted of all reactions to rhetoric: impact. It was perfect. Can you think of a better summary of the atheistic worldview? Nowadays it has grown fashionable for atheists to pretend moral outrage: Christianity is a “wicked cult,” according to Christopher Hitchens; the “root of all evil,” according to Richard Dawkins; “pernicious” and “vilest lunacy,” according to Sam Harris, ad nauseum. They make an outcry over the problem of evil: “How can an all-powerful and good God allow evil and suffering to exist? Either he’s not all-powerful enough to stop it, or he’s not good enough to want to. This is a moral outrage!” Wilson simply pulls back the curtain on their charade: in the atheistic worldview, there are no such things as purpose, good, evil, or morality. There is only matter and chance. Why, then, does the atheist react with real moral outrage? Why does it matter what one concentration of matter chances to do upon another concentration of matter. It just happens, and whether you like it or not, it carries no ethical meaning or judgment at all. The bruised and battered victim may wish her rapist to burn in hell, but he will never. And if human authorities never capture him, he will walk freely to do as he wishes again, and die peacefully with his little secret. There is no judgment. In fact, in an atheistic world, the rapist has done no wrong. The victim may have suffered, but, big deal.

    Rev. Wilson argued thusly, and just as he began to see his skeptical audience beginning to feel the weight of his argumentation, beginning to look slightly uncomfortable with themselves, beginning to squirm a bit, stare away a bit more awkwardly… he encapsuled their whole life, beliefs, and struggle for them in what they already knew: “shit happens,” deal with it, get over it. Doug showed the atheist that not only does their emperor have no clothes, he doesn’t even have a tailor to go to.

    from: http://www.americanvision.org/article/collision-with-pietism/

  5. The charlatan that writes AiG settled for censorship as Darwinians must:
    Mynym,
    You were warned that you must apologize before I would allow you the leisure of commenting on my blog again. Besides that, you need to learn the difference between recapitulation and the embryological evidence for common descent. One says that embryology is an exact replay of evolutionary history, the other says that common structures in embryos are evidence of common descent.

    That’s basically a distinction without a difference. There is no reason to assume that an embryo is recapitulating events which happened millions of years ago and there is equally no reason to assume that embryonic stages illustrate common ancestry. If ontogeny is not linked to phylogeny then imagery drawn from embryos cannot be used to support evolutionary creation myths, the main goal of all charlatans:

    One of the foremost advocates of evolution was the flamboyant German embryologist Ernst Haeckel. He not only promoted Darwinism in Germany, but he went so far as to argue that we could see all the details of evolutionary history in embryos and reconstruct ancestors from the embryonic stages of living animals. His most famous slogan, the “biogenetic law,” was “Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.” This is simply a fancy way of saying embryonic development (“ontogeny”) repeats (“recapitulates”) evolutionary history (“phylogeny”). To the limited extent that von Baer had shown….this is true. ….it is dangerous to overextend the evolutionary implications of the stages in an embryo, but they are useful guides nonetheless. (Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters by Donald Prothero :108)

    People attempting to correct pseudo-science of this sort have noted a pattern of denial (because even the mentally incompetent sometimes recognize that the idea is abysmally stupid) yet repetition of the same form of stupidity that was just denied:

    Eugenie Scott, Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education, has said that Haeckel “may have fudged his drawings somewhat,” but “the basic point that’s being illustrated by those drawings is still accurate.” Textbook-writer Douglas J. Futuyma euphemistically concedes that Haeckel “did improve his drawings,” but he falsely insists that early vertebrate embryos “really are more similar, overall, than the animals are later in development.”
    In other words, Haeckel may have fudged or improved his embryos, but they more or less accurately represent what’s really going on in vertebrate development. They weren’t faked at all. The Cracked Haeckel Approach to Evolutionary Reasoning by Johnathan Wells

    I would note that in attempting to correct the proto-Nazi pseudo-science of an anti-Semite like Haeckel one is touching on the psychological dynamics of those intent on crawling back into the womb of their metaphoric Mother Nature. They won’t like any attempts to pry them out so vicious personal attacks and proto-Nazi forms of censorship tend to be directed at critics. They are absolutely loathe to give up on some patterns no matter how obvious the blurring of imagery drawn from their imaginations is when measured against observable reality. One could almost use attitudes about Haeckel as a measure of the Darwinian urge to merge. Gould, having much less of that urge than orthodox Darwinists commented:

    We should therefore not be surprised that Haeckel’s drawings entered nineteenth-century textbooks. But we do, I think, have the right to be both astonished and ashamed by the century of mindless recycling that has led to the persistence of these drawings in a large number, if not a majority, of modern textbooks! Michael Richardson, of the St. George’s Hospital Medical School in London, a colleague who deserves nothing but praise for directing attention to this old issue, wrote to me (letter of August 16, 1999):
    “If so many historians knew all about the old controversy [over Haeckel’s falsified drawings], then why did they not communicate this information to the numerous contemporary authors who use the Haeckel drawings in their books? I know of at least fifty recent biology texts which use the drawings uncritically. I think this is the most important question to come out of the whole story.”

    Yet Prothero’s book devotes half a page to a large picture of Haeckel’s forged embryos, his only comment on them is that Haeckel was “overenthusiastic.” Gould stands in contrast with people like Prothero, PZ Myers, the writer of AiG Busted and other Darwinian charlatans. One would think that given Gould’s experience with Darwinists he would know at least a little about their propensity for and tolerance of pseudo-science. It is a pattern that emerges as naturally from them as excrement. Nature selects, nature calls and the excrement typical to those with the Darwinian urge to merge emerges, as predictably as gravity.

    Perhaps proponents of ID could find a way to cite their own imaginations or some fraudulent form of blurred imagery combined with hypothetical goo as the equivalent of empirical evidence in order to achieve an “overwhelming” psychological effect on ignorant schoolchildren?

  6. It could very well be that matter reduces to mind anyway.

    It’s curious how a materialists takes the view that matter must always precede mind (or the illusion of having a mind) mainly because mind is too ethereal, it lacks substance and is too much like a ghost in the machine. Yet the same materialist (e.g. Dawkins) seems to be perfectly capable of imagining multiple universes that have an impact on and indeed even give birth to this one. But what if there was a universe in which minds existed and had an impact on this universe? For that matter, what if there was a sentient universe of pure mind and spirit that created all other universes and could essentially be called God? And not just God but perhaps the God of the Jews, wouldn’t that upset Darwinists and anti-Semites? Imagine that! Denying it might even be like denying the Holocaust.* After all, if imagining things in the name of science is permissible then we might as well imagine things too.

    *

    By now, the evidence for evolution is overwhelming, so the burden of proof on the antievolutionist is much larger: they must show creationism is right by overwhelming evidence, not just simply point out a few inconsistencies or problems with evolutionary theory. Likewise, the evidence that the Holocaust occurred is overwhelming….so the Holocaust denier has to provide overwhelming evidence to prove that it did not occur. (Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters by Donald Prothero :15)

    …the creationists have much in common with the Neo-Nazi Jew-hating Holocaust deniers, who refuse to acknowledge that millions of Jews were killed by the Nazis. …. However…the Holocaust denier can at least be partially right in that the number of Jews killed may be revised, but the creationists cannot. Once you introduce supernaturalism to the debate, it is no longer scientific.* (Ib. :44)

    It’s odd that Prothero mentions Haeckel favorably as part of the overwhelming evidence. It’s also odd how much things must have changed given the history of the Confessional Church in Nazi German vs. the history of Haeckel in Germany. Despite what actually happened historically now it would seem that creationists and those who deny the application of Darwinian ideas to man have much in common with Holocaust deniers and Nazis. Imagine that!

    *This could go on all day but if theology is not supposed to be introduced the debate then many pages of Prothero’s book are not scientific because he includes his own Darwinian/Victorian era natural theology in it. (God wouldn’t or should not let a parasite exist because that seems icky, therefore a “scientific” theory of evolution is verified.)

  7. I chose to write that. Now I will make a peanut butter sandwich and ingest it. Then I will plant some flowers, clean the garage, and compose some music.

    It’s a beautiful life. 😉 But don’t you know that you’re programmed (not really) and manipulated (but not really) by your selfish genes (but not really selfish, just sort of selfish) to do what you do?

    Thanks to Richard Dawkins for the extra babel, apparently he has a whole ivory tower of it.

  8. Another thing I find typical (and the thread you linked to is typical of this) is that it’s always the Darwinist who wants to bring up Creationism and Genesis in an ID debate. Usually this is accompanied by accusations of trying to enforce your “religion” on them. Sooner or later they will bring it up and accuse you. It’s practically inevitable. Then it’s always followed by some form of: “Oh Yeah? Well, my god is better than your god! Watch me crawl back into her womb now so I don’t have to listen to you”.

    Darwinists have no problem allowing themselves to admit “design” and “purpose”, as long as it’s attributed to Mommy Nature, and not any other god. The fact is that evolution is a theological pursuit. It is a creation myth, not science. That’s why it’s defended with such religious fervor, and why blasphemers are to be condemned:

    The 10 Commandments of Materialistic Naturalism:

    I am Mommy Nature, Who Self-Ascended from the Great Nothing, who created all that is seen and unseen (though the unseen existeth not), who affirms your randomly-generated illusion of the miniscule portion of reality you think you perceive.

    Behold:

    1. Thou Shalt Love Me with all thy brain synapse firings and chemical reactions (for that is what Love is)

    2. Thou Shalt recognize No gods before Me

    3. Thou Shalt make an idol of DNA, and shall worship thy genome as an omnipotent agent of “progress”

    4. Thou Shalt refer to me as “nurturing” and “clever”, and shall attribute “purpose” to me, though I do have No mind or being

    5. Thou Shalt Not attribute to thyself any rationale for rationality, for thou were formed blindly, and by accident

    6. Thou Shalt live a Lie, as if concepts of Mind do have inherent meaning, and are not the chemical processes they are, for thou art matter only

    7. Thou Shalt believe in Non-Existence, and shall enthusiastically embrace it upon thy Death

    8. Thou Shalt cite thy Imagination as Evidence of My Work, and shall do this by drawing fancy pictures of hypothetical ape-like creatures connected by arrows

    9. Thou Shalt Believe in Chance, and not refer to it as Ignorance

    10. Thou Shalt Not Believe in Moral Absolutes, yet thou shalt also refer to this belief as Good

    Behold, I shall send you Messiah, the Holy Scientist who will reveal all, Redeeming all believers and Condemning all Blasphemers to lobotomies!

  9. Usually this is accompanied by accusations of trying to enforce your “religion” on them.

    Mainly because they assume that you’re trying to do what they’re trying to do. Christians do not need science to validate their faith, there are deep philosophical and experiential reasons to believe as well as historical evidence and the testimony of their tradition. Theists can admit to the limitations of science but atheists generally need it to build an entire worldview for them. The simple fact is that we do not know much about origins and what we do know certainly is not the epistemic equivalent of the theory of gravity. Agnostics like Michael Denton, non-practicing Jews like David Berlinksi and thoughtful Christians in general can admit that we do not have the answers scientific speaking although we can and ought to use science to pursue the truth to the best of our ability. In contrast, atheists tend to need science to be the be all, end all so they generally view science itself as a method which naturally and progressively builds an atheistic view of the world.

  10. That was a pretty good satire. My favorite was the one with the hypothetical ape-like creatures, it’s always fun to have them wandering around an imaginary world.

  11. “By now, the evidence for evolution is overwhelming, so the burden of proof on the antievolutionist is much larger: they must show creationism is right by overwhelming evidence, not just simply point out a few inconsistencies or problems with evolutionary theory. Likewise, the evidence that the Holocaust occurred is overwhelming….so the Holocaust denier has to provide overwhelming evidence to prove that it did not occur. (Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters by Donald Prothero :15)

    …the creationists have much in common with the Neo-Nazi Jew-hating Holocaust deniers, who refuse to acknowledge that millions of Jews were killed by the Nazis. …. However…the Holocaust denier can at least be partially right in that the number of Jews killed may be revised, but the creationists cannot. Once you introduce supernaturalism to the debate, it is no longer scientific. (Ib. :44)”

    Yeah, sure, evolution is as historically verifiable as the Holocaust…

    You don’t suppose he has seen written documents or video showing evolution in action do you? After all, the first ape who reached critical mass, woke up one day, jumped out of the tree and declared he was now a man, was certainly an eyewitness to it.

    And of course, without supernaturalism, you don’t have science. If science seeks truth, it needs a transcendent base. Christianity has done that by completely desacralizing nature.

  12. […] Pagan Fantasy World of the Darwinian AtheistI found the following quote on Intelligent Design and More. It speaks of the insanity of materialistic science: a pseudo “science” forced on our […]

  13. […] Mike weighs in on mynym’s recent post. I thought it deserved a post of its own. Another thing I find typical (and the thread you linked […]

  14. It’s curious how a materialists takes the view that matter must always precede mind (or the illusion of having a mind) mainly because mind is too ethereal, it lacks substance and is too much like a ghost in the machine.

    Here’s an article by a Darwinist who is somewhat of an anomaly.

    “The Unnatural Selection of Consciousness” by Raymond Tallis
    http://www.philosophypress.co.uk/?p=485

    His point is basically that the evolution of consciousness is an insurmountable problem that we should never have realized is an insurmountable problem in the first place (if materialism is true, of course):

    a quote:

    “Consciousness makes evolutionary sense only if one does not start far enough back; if, that is to say, one fails to assume a consistent and sincere materialist position, beginning with a world without consciousness, and then considers whether there could be putative biological drivers for organisms to become conscious. This is the only valid starting point for those who look to evolution to explain consciousness, given that the history of matter has overwhelmingly been without conscious life, indeed without history. Once the viewpoint of consistent materialism is assumed, it ceases to be self-evident that it is a good thing to experience what is there, that it will make an organism better able so to position itself in the causal net as to increase the probability of replication of its genomic material. On the contrary, even setting aside the confusional states it is prone to, and the sleep it requires, consciousness seems like the worst possible evolutionary move.

  15. I glanced at the article and thought it was pretty good — a few minor points of disagreement in tone and emphasis is all that came to mind. I think that he does a reasonably good job of explaining why consciousness is problematic for materialism. If you begin with a conception of reality which has been deliberately and carefully constructed so as to exclude all phenomenal or mental properties (i.e. “materialism”), you’ll have a pretty hard time explaining those properties on the basis of the materialistic conception of reality.

  16. That goes back to the basic thrust of this particular thread: Materialism insists on the primacy of matter. ID considers the primacy of mind. Again, we are back to IF / HOW. IF evolution is true (as it always is in Darwinist thinking), then we see all sorts of arguably unobservable and untestable HOW’s being thrown out there (regarding sentience, in this case). Certainly the writer imagines a few scenarios where matter may “go mental”. Ok, no problem with that. But this is the only kind of thinking that gets publicly funded for further research.

    (note: I referred to the “Collision” documentary above. There’s a review at http://theconstructivecurmudgeon.blogspot.com)

  17. Materialism insists on the primacy of matter. ID considers the primacy of mind.

    I’m not fond of how the options here are being presented. We’ve been dancing around this quite a bit, but now I’m going to put my foot down:

    Evolutionary theory is not materialism, and intelligent design (if it is a scientific theory) is not anti-materialism, because scientific theories are not metaphysical world-pictures. The very distinction between the two, between science and metaphysics, is — in my view — of the utmost importance for assessing the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment.*

    For one thing: intelligent design could not, by itself, show that materialism is false, because there’s nothing in the theory of intelligent design which shows that intelligence is not itself a property of certain kinds of material systems. This is why intelligent design must be completely neutral on the question as to whether the designer was God or an alien. Now, if one holds that the Designer was the Abrahamic God, then either one holds this position as a matter of ‘faith’ rather than of ‘reason’ (as Dembski does, for example), or one is a creationist, not a design theorist.

    For another: evolution requires that there be organisms, populations, and replicators. It doesn’t require that organisms be (i) material or (ii) reducible to material. Strange as it might sound, I’d go so far as to say that evolution (and yes, I do mean non-teleological macroevolution) is compatible with an ontology according to which “life” is a fundamentally different kind of thing than non-life. Despite what you may have heard, evolution takes no stance on the origins of life.

    Put another way: suppose that Aristotle was right in thinking that (i) the universe is eternal; (ii) there is a fundamental distinction between living things and non-living things, but wrong in thinking that (iii) the form of each kind of living thing is fixed. The result would be a consistent position that accommodates the insights of both Aristotle and Darwin.

    Now, I myself don’t share that view — I only sketched it as a possibility — but I do think that the insights of Aristotle and Darwin do have to be reconciled somehow, someway.

    * From what I’ve read thus far, the first philosopher to insist on drawing a bright line between scientific explanations and metaphysical positions is Leibniz.

  18. Carl, my point is, in reference to the article above, is that if materialism falsifies evolution (since we somehow ended up with sentience), then perhaps it’s better to admit that, instead of trying to figure out how “matter goes mental”. Evolution is never allowed to be falsified, only redefined. And it’s proponents always redefine in terms of materialism as far as I know.

    For one thing: intelligent design could not, by itself, show that materialism is false, because there’s nothing in the theory of intelligent design which shows that intelligence is not itself a property of certain kinds of material systems.

    I did write that ID “considers” the primacy of mind. Not “insists” on it. Certainly not in the way that materialism “insists” on the primacy of matter.

  19. More plainly – again going by the logic in the article : if materialism is true, then evolution (since it includes the emergence of sentience) must be false. Otherwise, if evolution (since it includes emergence of sentience) is true, materialism must be false. This seems to be the corner the article writer was backed into. Darwinists want both materialism and the evolution/emergence of sentience to be true, and they end up making up all sorts of “matter goes mental” theories as a result of it.

  20. I did write that ID “considers” the primacy of mind. Not “insists” on it. Certainly not in the way that materialism “insists” on the primacy of matter.

    You’re right, I was reading too hastily. I apologize.

    What I’ve been thinking about is this: all that evolution requires is that there be populations of self-replicating organisms exploring a fitness landscape. It doesn’t require “materialism,” whatever that means. One way of seeing how this could work is to think in terms of Aristotelian biology. On Aristotelian terms, to be alive is just, as such, to have psychological properties, of however minimal degree. This view has recently been re-developed by Evan Thompson in his Mind in Life.

    I don’t see anything there which conflicts with anything in non-teleological macroevolutionary theory, because NTET only requires that there exist populations of organisms of such-and-such a kind — it does not take any particular stance about what it is for something to be an organism.

    This is the point I’ve been trying to drive home for a few months now: design theory is fully entitled to be neutral as to the ultimate metaphysical commitments which are held to be compatible with it — the “identity of the designer” question — and evolutionary theory is also fully entitled to be neutral as to the ultimate metaphysical commitments which are held to be compatible with it. Either both theories are metaphysically neutral, or neither of them is. I think they both are.

    Now, this is not to say that one’s metaphysics is then a matter of subjective preference, or that might makes right, or whatever. In fact, taking that move would be the very worst kind of “scientism”, because it would implicitly take the position that the kind of reasoning employed in science is exhaustive of reasoning as such. That’s clearly false (it seems to me), and if it is false (clearly or not), then one can present rational defenses or accounts of different metaphysical positions without those defense or accounts stepping on the toes of scientific reasoning per se.

  21. This is the point I’ve been trying to drive home for a few months now: design theory is fully entitled to be neutral as to the ultimate metaphysical commitments which are held to be compatible with it — the “identity of the designer” question — and evolutionary theory is also fully entitled to be neutral as to the ultimate metaphysical commitments which are held to be compatible with it. Either both theories are metaphysically neutral, or neither of them is. I think they both are.

    But you do realize that the relationship between the theories and the metaphysical commitments tend to become mutually recursive, don’t you? That’s just how people are! And I would say that ID has more successfully minimalized this relationship (unlike Creationism, perhaps), than evolution has.

  22. But you do realize that the relationship between the theories and the metaphysical commitments tend to become mutually recursive, don’t you? That’s just how people are! And I would say that ID has more successfully minimalized this relationship (unlike Creationism, perhaps), than evolution has.

    Well, to be entirely honest, I don’t think that that’s “just how people are”. I think that some writers forge a strong association between metaphysical and scientific views in order to confer the legitimacy of science upon their metaphysical views, and that other writers, who might call attention to the illegitimacy of this conflation, are too busy doing other things to notice what’s happening. The result is that the conflation between science and metaphysics becomes widespread. I don’t know if they should be entirely separated, but separation is not distinction.

    Coming at the situation from a different but related direction, I’m quite intrigued by the authority that Dawkins commands among creationists and design theorists — as if it is with him alone that evolutionary theory speaks in its purest voice. But why should one believe that? Why Dawkins and not, say, Gould, or Lewontin, or Mayr? Perhaps because Dawkins is the most brash and bold of them? And also, perhaps, he is the least trained in philosophy, and most prone to fallacies? So he is the easiest target to beat up on?

    But also, I think, Dawkins is the least cautious popularizer, in that he is most willing to endorse some deep connection between the science and the metaphysics. (This is why, I suspect, he’s so easily accused of contradiction, in that he has a humanistic ethics at odds with his ‘red-in-tooth-and-claw’ metaphysics.) Now, Dawkins is clearly a sloppy thinker, even if he’s a good scientist, so I shan’t defend his ideas — I’m rather interested in how his self-promotion has been aided and abetted by the promotion he’s received in creationist and ID circles.

    The un-Dawkins view, which I share with Gould — a more sophisticated version of Gould’s “NOMA” — takes it that science and metaphysics are quite different things, that occupy quite different places in human life, and that the sorts of reasons one presents for or against a metaphysical view are quite different from what is used in scientific reasoning. (Parenthetically, there are quite ancient roots for this distinction, going as far back as the distinction between dianoia and noesis in Plato’s Republic Books VI and VII.)

    So I wouldn’t say that it’s human nature to see science and metaphysics as mutually reinforcing, but rather than some people do see them as mutually reinforcing, and others do not.

    In any event, I think that we ought to do as much as possible to minimize the mutual relationship between science and metaphysics. Dembski has done this from the ID side, and perhaps here’s one way of appreciating the distinction between ID and creationism, and Gould and also Ken Miller (unlike Dawkins) have done so from the evolution side.

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