Thursday, February 01, 2007

Judge Jones on whether ID is science

Allygally quotes the Dover judgement in a comment.
After a searching review of the record and applicable caselaw, we find that while ID arguments may be true, a proposition on which the Court takes no position, ID is not science. We find that ID fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to preclude a determination that ID is science. They are: (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation;
Wrong. Science is not the same as philosophical naturalism. Philosophical naturalism has a ground rule that supernatural causation can't be invoked or permitted. But you don't have to have a PN framework to carry out science.

And, in any case, from a purely logical point of view, even if you accept that proponents of ID believe in supernatural agency, the arguments and logic of ID don't require invocation of supernatural agency, just intelligent agency. To argue that ID insists that there is a god betrays a complete misunderstanding about the nature of the arguments of ID.
(2) the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation
science in the 1980's;
Not even wrong, at least on the basis of this quote. This is an argument by analogy, presumably from what was the case with creation science. But it is very poorly presented - though I acknowledge that I haven't been back to the source to see if Jones does any better in the rest of the document. But irreducible complexity isn't "central" to ID - in the sense that the rest of ID is built on it. It is one strand of the evidence for ID.

And in what sense was there a "contrived dualism" in creation science? In what sense was it "flawed" and "illogical"? An absolute sense? A judicial sense? A logical sense? In what sense does the analogy work is ID the same? And in what sense does this exclude creation science from being science? This argument as presented is incomplete.
and (3) ID’s negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community. As we will discuss in more detail below, it is additionally important to note that ID has failed to gain acceptance in the scientific community, it has not generated peer-reviewed publications, nor has it been the subject of testing and research.
Wrong. The challenges from ID to evolution have not been refuted. There have been partial responses, and what has become apparent in my opinion is that interpretation of evidence is more about presuppositions than science. If you believe that naturalism explains everything, you will conclude that naturalism explains everything. Those of us who don't are less convinced.

What about acceptance? NCSE - an anti-ID organisation, please bear in mind! - did a survey of science professors in Ohio, which I blogged on here. ID is by no means a majority opinion, but there is certainly a significant minority for whom it would be wrong to say that it "has failed to gain acceptance." This was in 2002, before ID became more visible.

As for peer-reviewed publications - well, this is the classic anti-ID moving-goalpost thing, plus a bit of different interpretation depending upon what you think. Research from an ID perspective is going on, and in any case, given the opposition that ID generates, as witnessed by the Sternberg case that has been investigated with at least some level of formality, is it really surprising that ID hasn't managed to achieve widespread visibility in journals?

At least on this matter of whether ID is science, it doesn't take a legal expert to show that Jones' conclusions are wrong. This being so, how much credibility do you think the rest of his judgment ought to have? Or are you going to say now that he must be right because he is a federal judge?