Monday, October 17, 2011

Science or Religion?

Any students out there who plan to do a paper on whether intelligent design qualifies as a scientific theory? If so, you might check out this post by Casey Luskin at Evolution News and Views. The following is excerpted from the opening section of his post:
[A]s I suggested above, there are many definitions of "theory" out there. How can we know if ID is a scientific theory? Take the definition of "theory" given by ID's most eminent scientific critics, and if ID meets that definition then there's a good bet ID may properly be considered a scientific theory.

Perhaps the most eminent scientific opponents of the theory of intelligent design can be found among the membership of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS).... the NAS defines "theory" as an idea that is well-tested and well-supported by the scientific evidence:
  • "a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, and tested hypotheses" (Science & Creationism: A View from the National Academy of Sciences (National Academy Press, 1999).)
  • "a comprehensive explanation of some aspect of nature that is supported by a vast body of evidence" (Science, Evolution & Creationism (National Academy Press, 2008).)
Even if we accept the NAS's more stringent definition of theory, ID more than qualifies.

When we're confronted with multipart tests, it's often useful to break them down into their elements. If the subject meets all the "elements," then it passes the test. Let's use that method here to analyze whether ID is a theory.

Element 1: ID must be an "explanation of some aspect of the natural world" and a "comprehensive explanation of some aspect of nature."

Element 2: ID must "incorporate many facts, laws and tested hypotheses."

Element 3: ID must be "well-substantiated" and "supported by a vast body of evidence."
The rest of Luskin's post discusses how well ID meets these three elements. One of the criticisms of ID, of course, is that it's religion and not science. Luskin makes a good case for rejecting this criticism as false.

Seeing Is Hearing

Here's an interesting piece from BBC that shows that what we see overrides what we hear. Or, to put it differently, what we hear often depends on what we see:
Thanks to Telic Thoughts for the video.