Re: HUMOR: Open Letter to Kansas School Board

From: Matt Arnold (
Date: Wed Jun 22 2005 - 11:23:09 MDT

   The whole point of Intelligent Design, as distinct from more
traditional "Creation Science", is getting away from saying who did
the creating. Yes, they claim to be presenting a body of evidence
discrediting an existing descriptive framework of origins, but for
political reasons they explicitly avoid replacing it.
   Even so-called Creation Scientists, who don't shy away from
replacing it, offer only "at this point a miracle happens" as that
classic old cartoon depicts. One can't devise a theory of testable,
predictable mechanisms underlying god. That's a magical effect not
involving cause-and-effect relationships.
   The Spaghetti Monster is very funny but we can't surrender semantic
ground to creationists on the use of this word. Stongly-supported
theory really is better than that, but this will not be widespread
knowledge until we start insisting on a distinction from the
colloquial usage. That's why I prefer to call ID neither a theory nor
a dumb theory, but no theory at all. I spent many years advocating in
favor of Creation Science and Intelligent Design before I left
Christianity, and didn't know the difference at the time, but I do
now. Far from dumb, it is formidably clever at surviving, adapting and
reproducing in the mental environment of pew-sitters, inspired as it
is by a professor not of biology but of law, who specializes in
-Matt Arnold

On 6/22/05, Ben Goertzel <> wrote:
> > The word theory is used in science to mean a model or framework
> > describing the behaviour of a natural or social phenomenon.
> > Intelligent Design, like every flavor of creationism, provides no
> > alternative model or framework, but is a claim that the phenomenon
> > being described-- evolution-- doesn't exist. It shouldn't be dignified
> > with the use of the word theory.
> > -Matt
> Matt,
> IMO, creationism is an alternate theory as to how the universe was created.
> It's a really dumb theory, but it's still a theory..
> Agreed that it's not a theory about how organisms *evolved*, because it
> rejects evolution.
> (Similarly, steady state theory is not a theory about how the universe was
> created, because it argues the universe was always here...)
> You can argue that creationism is a bad theory because it's not
> falsifiable -- but then, falsifying the natural selection theory isn't so
> easy either...
> The notion of validation/refutation of scientific theories is a subtle
> topic, more so than most scientists acknowledge.
> I like Lakatos's approach according to which scientific research programs
> are judged based on "progressiveness" -- based on their fecundity at
> generating interesting new ideas. By this standard, natural selection
> excels whereas creationism truly sucks ass...
> See
> for my thoughts on philosophy of science, presented in a more general way.
> -- ben

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