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Theoretically speaking

I would like to point you all to miss_s_b's rant about theories vs Theories and the importance of defining one's terms correctly, and say "What She Said".

Shirley Bassey is playing Glastonbury. Weird. And also, looking alarmingly plasticky.

I have nothing much to say.


( 10 comments — Comment )
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 27th, 2007 10:45 pm (UTC)
Heh. This is possible.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 27th, 2007 10:57 pm (UTC)
Heh :D Have they got Stairway on?
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 27th, 2007 11:00 pm (UTC)
Hee! I think I bought that on cassette :D
Mar. 27th, 2007 10:55 pm (UTC)
Mar. 27th, 2007 10:56 pm (UTC)
I know! Look at the ickle legs!
Mar. 27th, 2007 10:57 pm (UTC)
Mar. 27th, 2007 11:05 pm (UTC)
My thought exactly.
Mar. 28th, 2007 12:29 am (UTC)
The Intelligent Design Hypothesis in its least offensive form, namely that the basis of the universe is so complex as to imply the existence of a higher power guiding it, is scientifically totally neutral, in that there's no real way to apply the scientific method in order to test it. This is a long way from saying that science has proved it wrong, which miss_s_b seems to be implying. (Science has, of course, pretty conclusively debunked the whole "earth was created in seven days" hokum, but I believe that this is known as Creationism rather than Intelligent Design.)

Anyway, I think the point is that Intelligent Design is no more science than say, Cartesian dualism (the idea that reality is comprised of the physical and the metaphysical, and that the soul, as the metaphysical component of our identity, in some way interfaces with reality). While such things are interesting ideas, with merits that are arguable, they aren't really susceptible to the scientific method, and thus really don't belong in any scientific discussion, not because they exhibit poor cognitive structuring (much though rabid fundies like Dawkins would like you to believe), but because they aren't subject to scientific analysis, unlike the Theory of Evolution.

In Maths we don't by and large have theories. If something is believed to be true it's a hypothesis or conjecture. If it's proven true, it's a Theorems. You've gotta love a subject where things are actually demonstrably correct in terms of the axioms of the system. If only science were more like Maths scientists would have a lot easier time of it.

On a personal note, I don't believe in Intelligent Design. However in its more acceptable form as distinct from Creationism, there's no inherent logical fallacy in it, and I feel that in the interests of maintaining the moral high ground, it's important to remember that.
Mar. 28th, 2007 12:56 am (UTC)
I'm not sure if I've seen one specific, agreed-upon definition for Intelligent Design, which might be part of the problem. I'm not sure, but I don't think miss_s_b was saying it's been proved conclusively false, as such. It's more that proponents of it have a horrible tendency to say "Intelligent Design is a theory, Evolution is a theory, therefore you don't have any more evidence that you're right than I do", and ignoring the fact that evolution has a lot of evidence backing it up, and intelligent design doesn't because, as you say, it's not really something that the scientific method can test.

If I came across someone talking about ID in a general, philosophical way, I'm don't think I'd have a problem with it. But it tends to be mentioned when someone is denying evolution, as a reason for denying evolution, which is putting it in direct competition with something that IS a scientific theory. In that case, I think we do have to come forward and say they're talking nonsense. Even more so when people are trying to get ID taught in science classes in schools as a valid alternative to evolution.
Mar. 28th, 2007 02:13 am (UTC)
Agreed. Intelligent Design has no place in a science classroom. It's not science. It's the leap from "it's not science" to "it's not rational" that gives me cause for concern though.
( 10 comments — Comment )


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