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Science, Intelligent Design and Self Imposed Limitations

Kansas State University immunologist Scott Todd said, “Even if all the facts point to an intelligent designer, such a hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic.” Todd S.C., correspondence to Nature 401(6752):423, 30 Sept. 1999.

The question that comes to my mind is, shouldn’t Science be the search for any true explanation? Why does it HAVE to exclude an intelligent designer? Aren’t we supposed to follow the evidence where it leads? Just because we don’t like where it’s leading, does that give us the right to reject a theory that fits the facts well? Something seems awful fishy here. Do I smell human bias? Doesn’t this seem to contradict how science theoretically should operate?

Does a scientist think up a hypothesis out of the blue and then search for facts innocently, unbiasedly, with no pre-conception based on the love of the truth?   Or…does an evolutionist begin with a certain bias, trying to keep his/her grant funding and then look for evidences to support those biases in the form of “facts” to fit a certain agenda?

Ask yourself honestly.  Is there any reason why science shouldn’t be capable of leading us to the best explanation…whatever that may be?  I say again…Whatever it may be? 

6 Responses to “Science, Intelligent Design and Self Imposed Limitations”

  1. TwoD Says:

    I don’t say I totally agree with the top quote or anything like that. But science does not really attempt to explain (as in give answers to) anything, it’s more about modeling the world we live in.

    So why should a method which does not try to explain, only model, include a designer at all or even look for one when it explicitly doesn’t need one?

    And I feel like pointing out that “…the fact remains that you can show thousands of examples of design, patterns, symmetry, beauty, symbiosis, and many other types of evidence..” are not facts or evidence of anything in particular other than that there are “..patterns, symmetry, beauty [and] symbiosis…” in nature.

    There’s no reason whatsoever that patterns like those found all over the place couldn’t arise without the need for an intelligent designer. Look at mathematics, there are countless fractals similar to those found in nature, does that mean mathematics (a “thing” derived by such basics as 1+1=2) is intelligent as well?

    If it’s possible, it will eventually happen, given enough time chance will see to that. If there’s a pattern, you are likely to find it somewhere in nature because (as has been observed and tested) it’s built on some fundamental “rules/restrictions” which when repeated could eventually become very complex and obscure their origins.

    If someone does manage to find something which explicitly requires an intelligent designer, I’d go look for that designer instead of simply accepting any logical conclusion which fits the requirements. Until then, there’s no reason to include an intelligent designer into anything not requiring it.

  2. latsot Says:

    “It is really interesting that he not going to accept an intelligent designer no matter what the facts say. And that is science… But how can it be that there is an instance where Facts don’t count? I am all for people having the right to choose how to interpret facts, but something about that seems skewed.”

    You are quite right, and the quote is unfortunate. I haven’t looked up the Nature reference, but I suspect that your interpretation of the quote might not be quite right.

    It seems likely that what Todd is actually saying is that science can only deal with naturalistic things and that if there’s a god who created the world, science can’t say anything about it, because it wouldn’t be a naturalistic proposition.

    In other words, I suspect his position is that if facts point us to creationism, then we would have to accept it, but that it is out of the purview of science.

    If that is true, then he isn’t saying that we should ignore facts at all: just that there are some things science is not equipped to deal with. He isn’t saying that if the facts point to ID then ID *still* wouldn’t be true or that scientists would *claim* it wasn’t true, just that it wouldn’t be a *scientific* truth.

    Let me say again that I haven’t looked up the reference yet, so I could be completely wrong, but this is how the quote reads to me.

    Having said that, I don’t agree with the quote at all, with either interpretation. If *your* interpretation is correct, then this is indeed no way at all to do science. It is not a widespread view by any means and your suggestion that “this is how evolutionists say science works” certainly cannot be inferred from that one instance.

    If *my* interpretation is correct, then I still don’t agree with the quote. I see the existence or non-existence of god as a scientific hypothesis and therefore that we should be able – in principle, even if it never happens in practice – to find some evidence one way or another.

    However, some scientists (and non-scientists) disagree and think that science could never answer this question one way or another, even in principle. I’m fairly certain that this is what Todd was saying. He wouldn’t be alone: S.J.Gould was famously of this opinion, for example. I’m not sure why: I can’t think of a single reason to support the notion.

    Either way, it seems unfair to tar all scientists – specifically, in your article evolutionists – with that same brush. I don’t know of any evolutionists who act according to your interpretation by ignoring or deliberately misinterpreting facts and of only a very few who act according to my interpretation in believing that science can never answer the question.

    We agree on at least one thing: that science shouldn’t exclude the idea of intelligent design. The matter should be settled by evidence. In my experience, the overwhelming majority of evolutionists and other scientists agree.

    It seems unfair to use this ambiguous quote to suggest any kind of trend among evolutionists, but I fully support the idea that insofar as there is a question at all over whether evolution is correct, it should be answered by evidence.

  3. Alexei Says:

    Since a creator of the universe would necessarily exist outside of the universe, to have created it, science can’t speak to it. That’s also the only method by which a being could be all knowing, which is often a cited characteristic of said creator, would be to exist outside of the universe, as there are limitations to extent of knowledge in the universe made by the specific laws of our universe. Also all such claims of facts pointing to the existence of a creator would by nature be inductivism and therefore not valid to propose a creator as a definitive answer. They could point to a high probability of a creator, but it’s impossible even in theory to test whether or there was a creator of the universe and therefore not scientific. Therefore I don’t see any problem with that statement.

  4. latsot Says:

    Alexei:

    Does prayer work?

  5. latsot Says:

    Alexei:

    You didn’t answer the question.

    Does prayer work?

  6. John Adolfi Says:

    You then sir are either wanting to believe your theory or just naive so that you are blind to the fact that humans can be corrupt in every field of business and especially in “science” when you have the way their system and culture is set up. It’s not the disneyland “science” projects.It’s much like Hollywood, you see only what they show and the behind the scenes can be very “dirty.”