“Expelled” from Pharyngula

It seems rational discussion is passé.  I was recently forbidden to make comments on PZ Myers incendiary blog Pharyngula for attempting to engage in a rational discussion over a lecture he gave at AAI.  To my great disappointment, I was denied the privilege of commenting on PZ’s site after leaving only two posts.  Perhaps, if I had peppered my comments with profanity, ugly ad hominem attacks, and a *facepalm*, I would still have access to his site.  As it is, I won’t be making comments on Mr. Myer’s site any time in the foreseeable future.

For those interested in reading PZ’s blog and my original comments please follow the link below (my first comment is # 68):

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/10/my_talk_at_aai.php#comments

To my opponents, who believe they have delivered decisive blows to my arguments, here are my rejoinders:

Mr. Nerd of Redhead,

You say, “don’t lie to us about the real amount of scientific research being done. We know better.”

Thus far, I have made no comments regarding the amount of scientific research being done on ID Theory–it’s simply not an issue I’m interested in discussing at this time.  What does interest me is the fact that we make design inferences all the time and that the ability to make such inferences seems to be crucial to the sciences—a point that PZ demonstrates beautifully in his lecture.

So, the question still stands:  If distinguishing between things which have arisen from undirected natural processes and things which have arisen from intelligent design is a valid, and important, aspect of science, why can’t biologists employ such methods when analyzing biological systems?

Mr. CJO,

There are two things about your response I’d like to address:

(1) If your assertions are correct,  S.E.T.I is a complete waste of time and money–the extraterrestrial agents they seek evidence for are not, “extremely well understood in terms of motives and capabilities.”  If the S.E.T.I researchers followed your way of thinking, it would be impossible to determine whether an alien signal was designed unless they had already come into contact with the very extraterrestrials they were searching for.

The fact of the matter is, we know what intelligence is and we are capable of recognizing intelligent activity or involvement when we see it.  Distinguishing between things which have arisen due to undirected natural causes and things which are the result of intelligent design is a fundamental aspect of science; an aspect S.E.T.I researchers rely upon when they analyze radio signals from outer space.

(2)  You say, “if you want to “detect design in biology,” first you have to identify where the apparently unbroken chain of reproduction was broken in order to do this design work, and second you have to identify an agent capable of conceiving and carrying out the design.”

Why?  I don’t have to know when and how a brick wall was built to recognize that it is not the product of undirected natural causes.  Similarly, I don’t have to know when or how a molecular machine was designed to recognize that it is the product of intelligence (if, in fact, it is).  The methods we are discussing involve how scientists recognize the difference between something that is the product of undirected natural causes and something that is the product of intelligence—not when and how design was implemented.

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