[FoRK] "faith" vs. critical rationalism Re: Philosophy, for whoever needs it

Jeff Bone jbone at place.org
Tue Jun 24 17:23:13 PDT 2008

> But let me make what might be to some a surprising claim.  Despite  
> how detestable they might otherwise be and how pathetically flawed  
> and unsuccessful their attempts may be and how clearly disagreeable  
> their motives, at least the ID guys are making an attempt, however  
> weak and dishonest, to put the discussion on a more acceptable  
> epistemological basis.  ID is the alchemy of applied theology;  it  
> doesn't even rise to the level of pseudoscience yet.  Perhaps within  
> the next millennium we'll see it evolve into a science (and perhaps  
> such a thing will be needed to explain the behavior of posthumans. ;-)

Before I catch a bunch of backlash for this, let me give a couple of  
examples of what I mean.  Questioning the methods used to estimate the  
age of the earth is absolutely fair game for rational, scientific  
inquiry and debate.  Similarly, questioning whether given some  
estimate of the age of the earth and observations about the rates of  
genetic mutation, drift, epigenetic change, overall speciation and so  
on evolution could have produced human beings is also fair game.  In  
both cases, these are arguments that the ID guys will lose (or rather,  
have lost) --- but this *kind* of discussion isn't inherently  
irrational, even though their particular assertions may be.

Perhaps what I should have said is not that the ID guys are making an  
actual attempt to put the discussion on a more acceptable  
epistemological basis, because for the most part they are not in fact  
honestly attempting this.  Rather, such an attempt hypothetically  
*could* be made by an honest person who was trying to reconcile faith  
with their other, otherwise-rational understanding of the world.  Even  
so it would inherently be epistemologically weaker than true  
scientific inquiry, as the attempt is to justify a particular prior  
rather than discover something de novo.

And Kirk Cameron is never to be taken seriously. ;-)


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