Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Another thing about ID ...

In a comment on an earlier post, Corkscrew said:
If the following process were to be completed, I would consider it strong evidence of design:

1) Find an interesting phenomenon
2) Posit a design hypothesis for it (could include: the Designer's identity, their methodology, their tools etc)
3) Draw concrete, non-obvious*, testable predictions from that premise
4) Test those predictions
5) Discover that the predictions are accurate
6) Repeat a few times with more predictions to ensure it wasn't fluke
7) Submit results to peer-review and fail to have any daft mistakes in methodology pointed out

You don't even really need to show that design happened; you just have to show that it's a scientifically useful concept. If you manage to pull this off, you'll probably get a Nobel, as well as seriously undermining the philosophical argument for atheism.
This is a helpful post. However, what was interesting is that, over the last few decades, it has been shown that the counter-position (if such a concept exists) is pretty useless in scientific terms. How does this run?
1) Find an interesting phenomenon
2) Posit that it has no design function
3) Draw concrete, non obvious, testable predictions from this premise
4) Test those predictions
5) Discover that the predictions are accurate
Think of some of the interesting phenomena that this has been applied to. Vestigial organs - human coccyx is a vestigial tail, appendix is vestigial from earlier in evolution. Junk DNA - which turns out to have a great deal of significance, and isn't junk at all. Most recently, perhaps, the presence of lactic acid in muscles. The anti-telic approach has proved itself to inhibit science. Perhaps it would be sensible, in the interests of science, if the contrary position were assumed as a starting point ....

In fact, given the challenges that are made to ID, could opponents of ID suggest any occasions when an assumption that something has no design significance has produced any useful science?