The advice is this: when you have dug yourself into a hole, stop digging!
Secularism is undermining science, but secularists just keep digging (Source here)
Many who speak for science will say that there is apparent design in the physical universe and, since Darwinian mechanisms are not applicable to non-reproducing matter, there are "only two explanations: a benevolent designer or a multiverse." The multiverse concept has a reproducing cosmos, with an infinity of universes - of which ours is just one where the conditions happen, by accident, to favour the emergence of intelligent life.
Amanda Gefter of New Scientist does not welcome this analysis. Her thoughts were triggered by an article by Tim Folger in Discover (blogged here) which took a strong position on the matter, as is evidenced by the title: "Science's Alternative to an Intelligent Creator: the Multiverse Theory". She was alarmed because the article effectively concedes that there is evidence for intelligent design in the physical universe. She writes that this:
"lends credence to creationists' mistaken claim that the multiverse was invented to serve as science's get-out-of-God-free card. Indeed, Folger's article was immediately referenced on creationist websites, including the Access Research Network, an intelligent-design hub, and Uncommon Descent, the blog of the Seattle-based Discovery Institute's William Dembski."
Gefter's first response is to deny the need for a dichotomy. Actually, this is a valid point at the level of principle. It is good practice in science to work with multiple hypotheses, otherwise testing hypotheses is methodologically weak and the pitfall is to continually validate the favoured hypothesis. This is why educationalists need to be concerned about teaching Darwinism only as the mechanism of evolution, because students emerge thinking that there is no evidence against the theory. Anyway, here is Gefter:
"Pitting the multiverse against religion presents a false dichotomy. Science never boils down to a choice between two alternative explanations. It is always plausible that both are wrong and a third or fourth or fifth will turn out to be correct."
The reason why this is not a good response is that the argument goes much deeper than specific hypotheses. In my earlier blog, I suggested that this was a good case study for the use of Dembski's design filter, with explanatory approaches based on Law, Chance and Design. In the context of the Multiverse, we are not dealing with specific theories, but contrasting paradigms: Law & Chance versus Design. This does lead to a dichotomy, not between science and religion, but between secularist science and theistic science.
Gefter does not realise she is in a hole, so she keeps digging. She wants to break through the dichotomy barrier. She draws on some speculations of some physicists which suggest that observing is a creative force.
"What might a third option look like here? Physicist John Wheeler once offered a suggestion: maybe we should approach cosmic fine-tuning not as a problem but as a clue. Perhaps it is evidence that we somehow endow the universe with certain features by the mere act of observation. It's an idea that Stephen Hawking has been thinking about, too. Hawking advocates what he calls top-down cosmology, in which observers are creating the universe and its entire history right now. If we in some sense create the universe, it is not surprising that the universe is well suited to us.
That's speculative, but at least it's science."
"Speculative"? Yes, certainly.
"At least it's science"? - No, it is science fiction.
These ideas are science fiction because there is no mechanism for observation to affect the fabric of the universe; because no one has suggested a way of testing the hypothesis that "we somehow endow the universe with certain features by the mere act of observation", and because everything we have learned about the universe as a material entity and ourselves as observers goes against the idea that observation affects the object. The only exception involves quantum physics, but no linkage between this scale and that of the universe at large has been made. The next step here is the abandonment of realism, long regarded as a hallmark of the scientific enterprise. If ID scientists are correct in their analysis of contemporary science (i.e. that it is suffering by having to wear the straitjacket of philosophical materialism), then we can make sense of these wild speculations. We can understand them to be driven by the need to force-fit the universe into a conceptual model where design has no place. By contrast, what ID scientists seek is to legitimise design-based explanations within science and to allow the evidence to be evaluated without the need to comply with the secularist worldview.
Why it's not as simple as God vs the multiverse
New Scientist, 4 December 2008
First para: What would you rather believe in, God or the multiverse? It sounds like an instance of cosmic apples and oranges, but increasingly we are being told it's a choice we must make. Take the dialogue earlier this year between Richard Dawkins and physicist Steven Weinberg in Austin, Texas. Discussing the fact that the universe appears fine-tuned for our existence, Weinberg told Dawkins: "If you discovered a really impressive fine-tuning . . . I think you'd really be left with only two explanations: a benevolent designer or a multiverse."
|<< <||> >>|
Evolution has become a favorite topic of the news media recently, but for some reason, they never seem to get the story straight. The staff at Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture started this Blog to set the record straight and make sure you knew "the rest of the story".
A blogger from New England offers his intelligent reasoning.
We are a group of individuals, coming from diverse backgrounds and not speaking for any organization, who have found common ground around teleological concepts, including intelligent design. We think these concepts have real potential to generate insights about our reality that are being drowned out by political advocacy from both sides. We hope this blog will provide a small voice that helps rectify this situation.
Website dedicated to comparing scenes from the "Inherit the Wind" movie with factual information from actual Scopes Trial. View 37 clips from the movie and decide for yourself if this movie is more fact or fiction.
Don Cicchetti blogs on: Culture, Music, Faith, Intelligent Design, Guitar, Audio
Australian biologist Stephen E. Jones maintains one of the best origins "quote" databases around. He is meticulous about accuracy and working from original sources.
Most guys going through midlife crisis buy a convertible. Austrialian Stephen E. Jones went back to college to get a biology degree and is now a proponent of ID and common ancestry.
Complete zipped downloadable pdf copy of David Stove's devastating, and yet hard-to-find, critique of neo-Darwinism entitled "Darwinian Fairytales"
Intelligent Design The Future is a multiple contributor weblog whose participants include the nation's leading design scientists and theorists: biochemist Michael Behe, mathematician William Dembski, astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez, philosophers of science Stephen Meyer, and Jay Richards, philosopher of biology Paul Nelson, molecular biologist Jonathan Wells, and science writer Jonathan Witt. Posts will focus primarily on the intellectual issues at stake in the debate over intelligent design, rather than its implications for education or public policy.
A Philosopher's Journey: Political and cultural reflections of John Mark N. Reynolds. Dr. Reynolds is Director of the Torrey Honors Institute at