Tuesday, August 26, 2008

To a sad college student

No, really, look at this guy. He's sad.
Fortunately for everyone, I'm here to save the day.
Or not.
Anyway, being a denizen of Okrahoma, I check the Univ of Okra student paper from time to time. It's not exactly fair to pick on sophomores who haven't decided on a major yet, but my wife pointed this out to me. I had a pretty hard, frustrating day yesterday, so last night I took out some of my frustration on this hapless student's column. I'll share my comment with you:
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An awful lot of energy was expended here to hate on Sally Kern and her "ilk".
Taking a look at this young gentleman's face and deducing that he's probably a naturalist, it makes me wonder: Whence cometh his moralistic tendencies? Why is it wrong, on his naturalistic evolutionary view, to indoctrinate children with fundamentalist dogma? Why is it wrong to hate on homosexuals? Why is it wrong to push ID down people's throats?
I'm not saying I'm necessarily for (or against) any of this - what I am questioning is how Mr. Smith decides what's right and wrong, because he certainly assumes it an awful lot. Maybe his next column could tell us all how he knows that, beyond what boils down to "I don't like Action X, much like I don't like broccoli". Can he give a justification for all these calls to action? After all, he's just going to die some day and be worm food. So what if ID is taught in schools? So what if he wrote 10 letters to the governor?

The other flaws in the column are almost too numerous to count.
One wonders whether the OU Daily knew they were getting a cheap Dick Dawkins knock-off when they dispensed their August stipend.

-No Christian or ID-er believes the designer is "magical". Try again.
-This does not fit the proper definition of "superstition". Dictionary.com is a useful tool.
-ID and creationism usually don't get along well. They don't claim each other. If Smith had bothered to read a little bit of their interaction, he might know that. ID thinks creationism goes too far, unjustifiably far. Creationism thinks ID is wimpy and gives too much room to naturalistic presuppositions. They're not friends, though the greater enemy beckons to each of them.
-Smith didn't define "science" for us, so there's no way to know whether ID is science or not. Is "science" a methodology? A conclusion? Is "scientific" a method or a description of a set-in-stone orthodoxy?
-ID-ers don't propose ID as the "default" alternative. Simply as AN alternative. Perhaps Smith could quote an ID-er to that effect.
-One wonders if Smith realises that the principle of falsifiability is unfalsifiable.
-Smith shows no recognition of the obvious fact that the Designer may well have desired to create sub-optimal structures. But perhaps Smith knows something about the Designer that we don't, in which case he's lying to us all about not believing in ID.
-Smith tells us that evolution accounts for the many design flaws. Creationists and ID-ers alike will shout a hearty "Amen!" to that. What they want to know is how evolution accounts for the great deal of GOOD and USEFUL design, without resorting to the infusion of intelligence into the equation. Bring THAT up to an evolutionist and try to count the stutters.
-ID-ers have published quite a few papers in peer-reviewed journals. Smith is simply wrong about this.

That was approximately as easy as refuting a Dick Dawkins or Chrissy Hitchens book. He’s so wrong about so much, but he’s merely a messenger of a sad movement. One hopes the movement is dying, for the good of reason everywhere.

7 comments:

NAL said...

OK, I'll move this over here:

nal:
Rho:
One wonders if Smith realises that the principle of falsifiability is unfalsifiable.

One wonders if Rho realizes that the theory of evolution is falsifiable.


Rho:
NAL,

Replace the "able" with "ed" and you're there.


Feel free to provide an example.

Rho:

BTW, think about it. Your comment responds not at all to the point I made and which you cited.


Point? What point?

Rhology said...

Examples - search for the label "evolution" here.
And remember, I agree 100% that TOE is falsifiable. I wouldn't believe it's false if I didn't believe that, would I?

The point is that Smith relied on the "ID is not falsifiable" point to bolster his argument. The principle of falsifiability is not falsifiable either, so...Smith (and apparently you) might want to do some rethinking.

NAL said...

Rho:
Examples - search for the label "evolution" here.

Typical Rho non-answer.

Rho:
The point is that Smith relied on the "ID is not falsifiable" point to bolster his argument. The principle of falsifiability is not falsifiable either, so...Smith (and apparently you) might want to do some rethinking.

So ... ? Usually after a "so", an explanation follows. Hint, hint.

Rhology said...

So...what does that say about relying really hard on the principle of falsifiability as a test for truth?

NAL said...

It says nothing.

Of course I could be wrong. It won't be the first time. An explanation of why it should matter might help me see where I'm wrong.

Dr Funkenstein said...

The point is that Smith relied on the "ID is not falsifiable" point to bolster his argument.

He got that wrong slightly wrong I reckon - since he says it's not true, but also that it can't be shown to be false, which seems a bit contradictory and they do offer up some claims which can be falsified:

a. complex IC systems exist (+ specific examples of such)
b. These cannot/did not arise by evolutionary mechanisms

The other claim of his I found a bit dubious was the complex designer argument:

Assuming this guy is an atheist, he obviously believes animals such as ourselves arose by natural processes of some description. We're obviously capable of designing some pretty sophisticated stuff already, and (given enough time) will possibly end up designing something more complex than ourselves.

Rhology said...

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that in the post. Doh!

A human (heehee, not me, though!) can create an equation that leads to an infinitely-complex object like a Mandelbrot set.

It would most reasonable and nice of Smith (and Dick Dawk) to allow God the same.