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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Podcasts in the intelligent design controversy

Abuses of Power in Science: An Interview With Darwin Skeptic David Berlinski

Mathematician and novelistBerlinski, interviewed here, is always fun. His Devil's Delusion: Atheism and its scientific pretensions is both sharp and funny. As a secular Jew, he is not arguing for religion, but rather making the point that science is not atheism's best friend by any means:
•Has anyone provided a proof of God’s inexistence? Not even close.

•Has quantum cosmology explained the emergence of the universe or why it is here? Not even close.

•Have the sciences explained why our universe seems to be fine-tuned to allow for the existence of life? Not even close.

•Are physicists and biologists willing to believe in anything so long as it is not religious thought? Close enough.

•Has rationalism in moral thought provided us with an understanding of what is good, what is right, and what is moral? Not close enough.

•Has secularism in the terrible twentieth century been a force for good? Not even close to being close.

•Is there a narrow and oppressive orthodoxy of thought and opinion within the sciences? Close enough.

•Does anything in the sciences or in their philosophy justify the claim that religious belief is irrational? Not even ballpark.

•Is scientific atheism a frivolous exercise in intellectual contempt? Dead on.
To me, the main question is not why some out there try to co-opt science to support the new atheism, but why they get disproportionate attention.

Once Richard Dawkins told Expelled's Ben Stein that maybe space aliens started life on Earth but not God, I would have thought that ended the matter of who and what to believe. I gather Francis Crick entertained the same idea. Carl Sagan must have been flirting with it when he wrote Contact. And we need this?

Here, Berlinski talks about the problem of how to address dissent in science. Personally, I have a simple rule: If it can't be disconfirmed, it isn't science. That's how I knew Darwinism was not science - I was always being told that the evidence for natural selection acting on random mutation as a source of intricate machinery was overwhelming when it was quite obviously underwhelming. Disconfirmation was simply not allowed. Scientists had to slirt very carefully around any suggestion that their research suggested it wasn't true. And that's only the stuff that got published. Vast amounts of time and energy have been put into shoring up this unbelievable belief. Well, the nice thing for me as a traditional Christian is that, in general, this scandal at least can't be laid at our door.

Meanwhile, here's Bill Dembski on new peer-reviewed paper, "Conservation of Information in Search: Measuring the Cost of Success," published in IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics A, Systems & Humans.
Listen in as Dr. Dembski shares how his research provides accounting practices for checking out where the information in evolutionary processes is being inserted and expressed, thus holding evolutionists accountable to the fact that information is coming from an outside source.
Here is the paper. I remember when Baylor University tried to get rid of the Evolutionary Informatics Lab. This could be one reason why. With any luck, there will be others.

Lastly, here
On this episode of ID the Future, Logan Gage interviews professor of neurosurgery at SUNY, Stony Brook Michael Egnor. Dr. Egnor discusses his current research into cerebral blood flow and the buffering of the brain from the force of blood pumped by the heart. Dr. Egnor's approach to this problem is that of an engineer, using the design inference to understand how the brain protects itself from the pulsatility of the arterial blood flow of the heart.
So just think, if it rains, you can listen to podcasts instead of raking leaves.

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