Fuller Transcript

More Fuller. I’ve been reading the transcript (and so has Stewart, see his comments on I Employ Methods). It’s time to share.

A. Well, you might say as a philosopher I’m
professionally dissatisfied with all explanations that
claim to be final. And so there is going to be a
special suspicion sort of drawn toward the
taken-for-granted theories in any given discipline.

Q. So you’re not saying that intelligent design
is the correct or the better explanation for
biological life?

No, I’m not. I’m certainly not. They’re
not – they haven’t developed it enough to really be
in a position to make any kind of definitive judgment
of that kind…I want to see where
intelligent design goes, frankly. I mean, you know, again, it’s hard to make a judgment. But I do think
that when you get to a situation in science where one
theory is very dominant and so taken for granted that
people don’t even feel they have to, you know, defend
it anymore, then that’s kind of bad news
epistemologically, just generally speaking.

Well, it seems to me this (along with a lot of other places) is where the lack of expertise gets to be a problem. Which is no doubt why the plaintiff’s lawyer asked him about his expertise in some detail – got him to say No he’s not a scientist, not a biologist, not an expert on irreducible complexity, or on Behe, or on Dembski, or on complex specified information, not familiar with the textbooks that are being used, not familiar with Of Pandas and People. And this is where that shows up. The explanation doesn’t claim to be ‘final’. And then there’s the ‘it’s hard to make a judgment’. Well, yes, of course it is, because you don’t know anything about the subject! Therefore – therefore – you really ought not to be meddling in it. You ought not to be proffering your valueless opinions and hunches in a courtroom in a situation in which the vast majority of people who do know something about the subject think the side you are defending is utterly, bottomlessly wrong. That’s exactly why you should shut the hell up.

It says, Third, ID’s
rejection of naturalism and commitment to
supernaturalism does not make it unscientific. Did I
read that correctly?

A. Yes…But I do believe that ID is open
to supernaturalism. But it’s not exclusively
supernatural, it’s just with respect to this

Q. But it has a commitment to supernaturalism
and to introducing it into the scientific community?[…]So if it’s not naturalistic, what else could
it be?

Yes, but the thing here is, what
supernaturalistic boils down to — I mean,
supernaturalistic just means not explainable in the
naturalistic terms. Right? It means involving some
kind of intelligence or mind that’s not reducible to
ordinary natural categories. Okay?
So that’s the sense in which I’m using
supernaturalistic. I’m not saying, you know, they’re
committed to ghosts or something. See, I’m not sure
what exactly — but that’s how I — I understand
supernaturalistic in this fairly broad sense…Well, as not naturalistic, given what we
take to be naturalistic now in science. Because in
the past, things that we now consider to be
naturalistic in science were not regarded as such.
Right? So that’s the basic point I’m trying to make

But that’s not supernatural, you fool. That’s ‘not discovered yet’ or ‘not understood yet’, which is a completely different thing. As surely you know! You an expert in the rhetoric of science – surely you know perfectly well what ‘supernatural’ means. It means above, beyond, outside natural, it doesn’t mean natural but not fully understood yet.

Q. The goal is to have a supernatural designer
considered as a possible scientific explanation?

A. Well, it’s intelligent designer, and I think
the idea here is that intelligence is something that
cannot be reduced to naturalistic causes. Right? So
there is a sense in which the idea of intelligence
itself is taken to be somewhat supernatural here.

But ‘intelligent’ is just an adjective to apply to a process that, to the ID crowd, looks deliberate and planned and intentional – and ‘intelligent’ – instead of like a dull algorithm of reproduce, change, select, reproduce, change, select. But it seems pretty circular to take that adjective – ‘intelligent’ – that is the crux of the disagreement, and say that it’s something that cannot be ‘reduced’ to naturalistic causes. Why can’t it be, and how do you know, and are you sure you’ve looked hard enough? Maybe there’s some very ‘intelligent’ entity hiding somewhere that you just haven’t found yet. Go back and look some more and then come back – say in nine hundred years or so – and tell us what you’ve learned. In the meantime, get out of our school systems.

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