Friday, June 23, 2017

Your Dislike Of The Term "Intelligent Design" Doesn't Change A Single Thing About It Being A Fact Of Science - Hate Mail

This isn't a hard point to get.  If your hypothesis is that, as that National Earth Science Teacher's Association rather naively put it, " the first life forms arose spontaneously through naturally occurring chemical reactions"  THAT IS, WITHOUT ANY DESIGN BY GOD, the actual motive of those who invented abiogenesis, then your intended hypothesis makes the presence of design and intelligence and, by the way, intent, relevant to the analysis of what you do to try to demonstrate your hypothesis.

Every experiment that any scientist does is conducted through their design, to do certain things to certain chemicals or objects or organisms, to see what the result of what the scientist has done through their experiment will be.   THE ABIOGENESIST'S OWN INTELLIGENT DESIGN IS WHAT MADE WHAT HAPPENED, HAPPEN.   It is inescapable that intelligent design produced the results, therefore the people conducting the experiment have only succeeded in showing that the result they achieved was achievable through intelligent design.  There is no way to remove the factor of intelligent design from its role in producing the result.

To prove that life arose on Earth arose by other means than by the intelligent design by God the scientist would have to try other means available under the methods of science, in this case the direct observation of the thing studied.   And in the case of how life began on Earth, that is impossible.  It is not possible for science to dismiss intelligent design in this case, that claim and desire of hard core atheism is often claimed but the claim is either blatantly dishonest or it is monumentally short sighted.

I would go so far as to say that even when direct observation of something that happens in nature is possible, it is impossible to remove the mind of the person making the observation from consideration of the nature of the conclusions reached.  That is certainly what physicists discovered about their minute and exacting observations of objects in the early 20th century.*

I think as the phenomena studied by science are more complex and the numbers of factors entering into the problems of treating things by science multiply, as in the life sciences, the more relevant the mind of the person making the observation becomes because many if not all of those factors will include the necessity of making judgements on something other than pure measurement** of a reliably isolated phenomenon.   As science more explicitly involves the creation of narratives, such as in the study of evolution, the mind of the story-teller becomes centrally important to effort and the common cultural features of those who they are telling that story to has a definite effect on whether or not the story is found credible or good.

That's not how science is generally presented as being but the idea that there is some entity called "science" that is not a human activity is one of the most absurd forms of idolatry  that would-be sophisticated, modern people engage in.  Scientific method (really, methods) is, ideally, a process that people invented to come up with reliable knowledge about how the physical world works, some of those methods aspired to remove human bias but at best that removal is only partial.  Pretending it isn't there is ridiculous as every single thing that is done as science is done by people.  Observation, measurement, analysis, experiment, they don't just happen as some disembodied entity.  As I have mentioned, physicists, as they found it impossible to ignore that as their own observations became directly relevant to the things they desired to study,  they had to admit that you couldn't make claims that left that out.

I think that is something that should have been admitted in the life-sciences as their claims about the lost, irretrievable past of life on Earth, depended on created narratives of events that included scanty physical evidence, in some cases, as from the beginning of scientific story-telling under natural selection, sometimes they even did so on the basis of no physical evidence.  The stories told by Darwin, Huxley, Galton, Haeckel and others were the product of their minds, their predispositions, scientific and, especially, when they talked about human societies which they lived in and had direct stakes in, their social and economic advantage, became entirely relevant to what they claimed as science.  In my study of eugenics, I've noted that the birth of that in the self-congratulatory claims Francis Galton believed on behalf of his, upper class in his earliest writings, especially his book Hereditary Genius, were obviously self-serving and adopted with little consideration of that by the other members of his own social class with little question.  They held themselves to be men of science, above such things even as they practiced the most obvious self-serving class bias as science.

Abiogenesis starts out by not having any physical evidence of how the first organism was assembled out of physical components more than three billion years ago, they have no idea of what that, specific organism would have been like.  You can't imagine up an actual and, in this case, very specific organism***, its life and its environment and have it be more than some level of fiction.  Unobservable organisms and their lives are too complex to think up out of nothing.  No matter how plausible people find your story.

Their many different proposed models of that often show rather shocking naivete as to how unlikely their proposals for what that earliest organism were like are, based on features of known organism from hundreds of millions if not billions of years after that event, organisms which in the earliest resolvable, though still partial ( and, I'd imagine, science being what it is, controverted) detail, examples are presumably far evolved from even that even most improbable organism of all, the first offspring of that first and unique organism, all of those are all inventions out of the minds of scientists, they are not actual organisms.  They are not THE actual organism, which was just what it was and not anything but what it was.

The number of factors in even that last sentence describing the situation is an indication of how many places the mind of the scientist doing that is not honestly ignored in the conclusions made.  You cannot possibly think up that organism, those organisms, the original one and - in one of the most unexplainable acts ever addressed by science, its giving birth to another organism, perhaps dividing itself and making another of its kind, instead of just living for a while and dying - without being able to observe it all, its formation, its life, its reproduction, the two resultant organisms, both viable.   Both containing whatever it needed to live and reproduce.  You can certainly not just pretend that whatever you come up with is not the product of the intelligent design of the scientist.  If that's true about the physical results of bio-chemists, it is especially true of the product of their imagination, to start with.

Science, especially the life sciences and the science such as that which explains man made global warming that could kill us all is absolutely important, it is some of the most important stuff people do.  But it is a human activity done by people and that fact becomes of the greatest importance when it is relevant to what scientists claim they are producing as reliable knowledge.  You can't leave that out when what you are claiming is that you are demonstrating that God didn't make life arise on Earth, that life on Earth and we, ourselves are not a product of God's design.  You don't have to believe that God did that but you can't demonstrate that it didn't happen that way through your own intelligent design.  That only proves it could have happened through intelligent design.  And you are never going to be able to make a direct observation of the actual thing, the actual beginning of life, ever.

* One of the best essays I've ever found on the subject is by Jacob Brownoski, the 11th part of his BBC series The Ascent of Man,  Knowledge or Certainty, and how those who ignore that "open the door to tragedy."   I think it's held up remarkably well in the past forty four years, though the vintage electronic music sounds rather quaint to me in a way it didn't at the time.

** Another of the discoveries of the most exactly mathematical of all sciences, physics, was that there is no such thing as absolutely pure measurement.  Not even of the simplest phenomena, nevermind living organisms.

*** As I've mentioned throughout this, you can't even know if there was that one organism or many - the improbabilities of that scenario rising with every one of them.  I might believe that there was one original organism but that's far from knowledge, it is based on a narrative I believe.

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