Behe and Co. in Canada

This past Friday, I bumped into Dr. Michael Behe, and again on Saturday, along with Drs. Brian Miller (DI), Research Coordinator CSC, and Robert Larmer (UNB), currently President of the Canadian Society of (Evangelical) Christian Philosophers. Venue: local apologetics conference (https://www.diganddelve.ca/). The topic of the event “Science vs. Atheism: Is Modern Science Making Atheism Improbable?” makes it relevant here at TSZ, where there are more atheists & agnostics among ‘skeptics’ than average.

On the positive side, I would encourage folks who visit this site to go to such events for learning/teaching purposes. Whether for the ID speakers or not; good conversations are available among people honestly wrestling with and questioning the relationship between science, philosophy and theology/worldview, including on issues related to evolution, creation, and intelligence in the universe or on Earth. Don’t go to such events expecting miracles for your personal worldview in conversation with others, credibility in scientific publications or in the classroom, if you are using ‘science’ as a worldview weapon against ‘religion’ or ‘theology’. That argument just won’t fly anymore and the Discovery Institute, to their credit, has played a role, of whatever size may still be difficult to tell, in making this shift happen.

A question arises: what would be the first question you would ask or thing you would say to Michael Behe if you bumped into him on the street?

As for me, there was no difficulty, no awkwardness, and of course no hostilities; I shook Behe’s hand and welcomed him to the city, after somehow finding the featured speaker momentarily with no one around him & directly in front of me as I walked with a friend on the way out of the auditorium to the exit. So I got to follow-up briefly on my audience question that was submitted by text & anonymously read to him on stage. He had spun himself into a web, even in only partially answering it. It got no better in direct Q&A with him; he either doesn’t want to answer, contractually with the DI cannot say more, or is rather quite boring and not that helpful outside of biochemistry, nota bene: on the rather broad topic of ‘design’. He didn’t want to go ‘there’ involving science, philosophy & theology/worldview collaboratively. The conversation ended politely (more later) and I departed.

The next day after the event concluded, now along with Miller, I showed Behe the specific words of William Dembski on the topic, in a book that Behe himself wrote the Foreword for, which were the polar opposite of what he had said on stage, and repeated to me the night before that he sees no need to distinguish design from Design and intelligence from Intelligence. He appeared baffled, and said he did not understand this, though the (not specified complex?) language he used itself goes against his misunderstanding. In the recent ID challenge that Behe led, the organizers capitalized Then the conversation turned back to Miller, who was already under mild clarification requests from one of the organizers, which was a rather pleasant surprise, as the conference was otherwise a one-sided ID-apologetics showcase.

At the end in conversation, Behe rather astonishingly, in the company of others, said that he simply still didn’t understand what difference it makes to distinguish ‘Divine (Intelligent) Design’ (DID) from ‘human (intelligent) design’ (hid or HID), and repeated the exact same phrase that he was just “a simple biochemist”. When I told him it sounded like he & his 2 colleagues were intentionally or unintentionally trying to promote a universalized design notion, he responded as if stumped: “I don’t know anyone who does that.” Yet less than 5 minutes previously, his Canadian philosopher colleague Larmer, the evangelical ‘philosophers’ President (who actually [or is it just some kind of Maritime humour?] directly degraded his own discipline of philosophy on stage!), who I had approached first among them at the end of the 2nd day, had replied exactly with that answer to the specific question I asked about the limits of IDT. He takes the approach of design universalism, period. This basically equates to evangelical Intelligent Design apologetics, a view incidentally which often quite quickly collapses into and reveals itself as occasionalism, the unspoken ideology of most IDists (cf. First Things on IDT). At least Behe’s and most IDists’ views cannot be easily disguised as ‘strictly scientific’ in the way that his respected non-IDist Christian colleagues mean by ‘doing science’.

Thankfully, a young local organizer at the event kept Behe & the other DI representative on track in our small group chat, and wouldn’t let them wander away from more clearly defining the meaning of ‘design’ in IDT, and saying how the process by which ‘design’ is instantiated should be studied & understood. The young man and several others wanted something clearer, more specific and properly ‘bounded’, as well as ‘positive’ (Behe mostly spoke about degradation in his talk) and simply more coherent regarding ‘design/Design’ than what Behe, Miller & Larmer were offering. Larmer had disengaged by this time, and was sitting in a front-row seat in the corner behind the small group, out of the conversation. One local biologist was listening in on the conversation and I spoke with him on the way out; he saw the need to respond to the DI people as I had done, though at first he did not recognize this line of challenge to their ideology, rather than just acknowledging their claims to a ‘scientific design revolution’. It was encouraging that in just a few minutes hearing a different viewpoint from the IDM’s, he had already turned to come around, thus moving ahead with answers to some of the problematic questions he had arrived at himself about IDT while listening to their talks & public answers.

Must an evangelical become an IDist or else stop claiming to be an ‘evangelical’ (Christian, Muslim or Jew)? Is this the main message the DI is sending through its current roster of emissaries like Miller & Larmer? If so, then in my view, this is a terrible attitude to take, as it forces religious believers to takes sides regarding a so-called ‘strictly scientific’ hypothesis (as we saw here recently with EricMH). Meanwhile, IDT clearly and unequivocally discriminates against atheists, by definition, because a person simply cannot accept Intelligent Design and remain an atheist at the same time. So Judge Jones, a religious Republican, got it right, and the DI’s past, present & future is most likely finished in terms of court cases promoting IDism, an ideology, not ‘good science’. This result was satisfactory both for agnostics & atheists against veiled religious apologetics in public school science classrooms, as well as for people of different and many religious faiths who simply do not want IDist ideology taught in public schools. Many religious believers reject IDT, without agreeing to atheistic or agnostic views of human life and death, origins and processes of change, etc. A huge problem is that some people simply see things in black and white and can’t find any middle ground with others from where they are currently standing. And so they remain stuck (e.g. in designolatry, as much as ‘Darwinism’) while the conversation passes them by.

I made it clear in advising Miller & Behe (two times because they asked me to repeat it) to please at least distinguish ‘Divine (Intelligent) Design’ (DID) from ‘human (intelligent) design’ (hid or HID) as distinct categories, just as W.L. Craig, Owen Gingerich, Stephen Barr, and many other top-level theistic philosophers and scientists have already requested. Is it really too much to ask? Would any ID leader respond to this? It did not seem within the grasp of either of them – and this floored me – to even consider this a legitimate option (though Miller made an effort to say ‘we should talk more’ & urged me to contact him at the DI, on the way out the door) that needed to be made as a gesture of good faith. Am I simply naive to ask: why not?

After his second presentation, in which he took considerable time to respond to the Nature review of Darwin Devolves that ‘challenges evolution’, by Lents, Swamidass & Lenski, Behe responded to a common question, innocently saying, “I don’t know of any good arguments against ID[T]”. Right, that drew a chuckle! Well, in any case, that’s one thing to which a person here might respond if they bumped into him on the street. = ) More could be said about how Behe positioned critics negatively for the audience in response to his work – this was only mildly surprising – but I’ll leave that out for now. I certainly agree with him, as a biology-outsider, that “We are living through a revolutionary phase in biology … due to new technology”, though it’s of course far from just the academic/intellectual/scientific/research field of biology that is being impacted by new technologies.

After having exchanged a couple of emails with him >15 years ago, Behe is the last of the main figures in the IDM that I’ve met or been in close proximity with: Thaxton, Dembski (ex-retired), Meyer, Nelson, Wells, Axe, Gauger, Luskin (retired), Richards, Chapman, & West. At some point, enough was enough. Perhaps only John Mark Reynolds holds remaining interest with regard to their over-exposed collapsing ideology, which now they mainly only export abroad as ‘strictly scientific’ to places not equipped to deal with their public relations campaigns and ideological onslaught, usually among Protestant evangelicals-first. As a ‘strictly apologetic’ tool; that sounds like a more accurate description of IDT’s “implications”, yet without the scientific pretense.

One thing I discovered in the brief one-on-one on Friday is that Behe admitted he knows nothing about design theory, design thinking or design studies (or anything related to the meanings and uses of ‘design’ other than according to IDT) and that he has not read anything about them. I named key names, he knew none of them & openly acknowledged this. Rather convenient, so it would seem, for his past tense ‘designed’ theistic science IDT approach to slough aside frontal challenges to the DI’s ideas, and requests for clarification by fellow Abrahamic theists who reject the claims of scientificity and questionable theologies held by the IDM’s founders. Interestingly, Miller & Larmer, who may be new to some people here, have both already ‘had a go’ at Denis Lamoureux, a Canadian evangelical, first chair of ‘science and religion’ in Canada. Lamoureux steadfastly rejects the DI’s IDT, and instead calls ‘Interventionist Intelligent Design’ (IID) what the DI is promoting. The discord between IDists & those among the vastly larger majority of Abrahamic theists who hold TE/EC views of origins was visible up front, especially in Miller’s scrappy comments against religious theists who reject IDT.

The event was an evangelical apologetics conference, after all. The talks mostly drew applause for ID as theism-friendly science & quasi-science, even while drenched in ideology, the latter which may not have been visible to those not aware to watch for it. From a small survey, I’d say half were positively curious, and the others at least half-skeptical about IDT. All were religious theists with whom I spoke, older, middle-aged and younger. One man had a skeptical teenage son with many questions about history, science, and theological/worldview ‘origin stories’ (as do most of us still, except for those who try to block ‘religion’ entirely out of their lifeworld & worldview!).

My observations about the IDM, IDT & IDists were welcomed among those I spoke, except for a negative reaction by one of the organizers who didn’t think any positive alternative to ‘methodological naturalism’ (MN) need be named by IDists, in order to go beyond just making a strong critique of MN. Again a pattern seemed to arise that for some educational backgrounds (engineering, computer science, mathematics), plus a certain naive (or even dismissive) approach to philosophy (of science), combined with experiences of ‘designing’ & ‘creating’ (among other creative verbs), seems to make IDT quite attractive in its simplicity as a tool for defending (apologetics) generic ‘theism’ against ‘naturalism’. Other theists don’t miss the forest for the trees.

On the flip side, a trend has also grown among IDists in basically idolizing ‘natural-physical science’ such as to ‘mimic’ it beyond the boundaries of science itself, apparently framed as a new and easy way for academically-oriented people to become gods (intelligent designers, univocally), or go further into self-deification. Such aspirations are not uncommon in this day and age. This is something the IDM appears to have bought into as a collective, even while individuals in the movement might be attempting to fight against that sad and unnecessary deception.

So, again the community feedback-provoking question for this TSZ thread: what would be the first question you would ask or thing you would say to Michael Behe if you bumped into him on the street? I asked him about DID vs. HID. What would you ask?

p.s. RIP Phillip Johnson (founding leader of the Intelligent Design movement, 1940-2019)

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85 thoughts on “Behe and Co. in Canada

  1. colewd: Do you agree if we could not knock out any of those genes from an invertebrate that shares and ancestor with with an invertebrate missing those genes we would falsify unguided universal common descent among invertebrates?

    No. Why would it?

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  2. No. Why would it?

    The hypothesis of the paper is that the ancestral animals carried all the WNT genes and being lost along the way explains the pattern.

    To confirm the hypothesis they would need to show that this type of WNT gene loss is feasibley fixed in the population starting from an animal with all the WNT genes. In the paper they did propose study of gene loss but I think the experiment needs to be WNT specific since that is the pattern we are observing.

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  3. Robert Byers:
    Gregory lives in Toronto?! I live there!I would of asked BEHE what it is like to have become a famous accomplished innovator in a scientific subject that in the future may make him very very esteemed or a important note in the story of science.!! … he is part of a important, feared, movement that is the origin for this blog. … while complimented he would also be hated or dismissed.

    Important and feared, you say, Robert Byers. That sounds funny if you’d been there.

    1. No, I don’t live in Toronto. Do you see how you might have either misunderstood or just made it up? You are in Toronto, so should write ‘here’, when speaking on your own behalf, rather than ‘there.’ Likewise, it’s a sign of imbalance to write Behe’s name in capital letters. Byers seems to idolize the man. I shook his hand, listened to him, responded, explained my alternative position and he wanted to hear more. I don’t idolize Michael Behe; what an absurd theology/worldview situation certain IDists force themselves into (e.g. EricMH here recently).

    2. Behe isn’t imho much of an innovator beyond the duo ‘irreducible complexity’. He borrows a lot (e.g. molecular machines, ‘purposeful arrangement of parts’, etc.) & just isn’t that great a synthesizer or communicator beyond repeated sound bites scripted by a tribe of IDists headquartered at the DI. He is more nowadays just a poster boy, getting paid to be as rebellious as possible (devolution, baby!) for the DI’s ideology, as well as dismissive of criticisms from non-atheists/non-agnostics (that part is like Robert, except) that require him to speak as a whole person of science, philosophy, theology/worldview together, rather than separately, as he prefers & requires.

    3. The more mature you grow as a Christian thinker, Robert, the less you will either need or see the importance of IDT, except perhaps as an evangelical apologetics tool at a school-child level.

    Question: Robert, do you use IDT as an apologetics tool? I mean you, not anyone else, not some other person, but indeed, you. Is that what you do with/for ID: apologize for it? Can you please reply directly, without wandering thoughts?

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  4. colewd,

    “he would call that an interesting question but outside his prevue of interest.”

    Perhaps in a unwelcome move to dehumanize himself as ‘only a scientist’, or to belittle his own capacity to think as a non-scientist? I was addressing him not just as a natural scientist, but as a complete person, which is at the heart of making the highlighted distinction above. One doesn’t have to be a specialist to make this distinction for themselves when looking at the same ‘evidence’ Behe (sometimes) looks at; they just have to take a few minutes to try and think about it.

    It’s simply not necessary, and indeed, at the end of the day impossible, to completely separate one’s natural science from their theology/worldview as strictly as you make Behe sound, colewd. True, he did duck from personal responsibility with me face to face, and also on stage. However, he has already left a trail of ‘evidence’ (that we need not just rely on biologists or biochemists to ‘interpret’, cf. Johnson) in which he repeatedly contradicts himself and indeed misses the mark, and that he cannot simply refute or paper over with ‘scientific facts’.

    Frankly, I found him quite wooden, though earnest and sincere; not a complex or serious thinker in the most important fields involved in the conversation. Behe didn’t evangelize IDT, except as a ‘scientismist’ for IDism, while seemingly intentionally blurring the line with the long pre-IDT traditional ‘argument from/to design’, which are unarguably theological and apologetic in orientation.

    “I do think it [?] is an interesting question and something that can be empirically explored.”

    The distinction between DID & HID “can be empirically explored”? Is this what you meant? If so, please say more, and highlight the names of a few people who are doing this at the top level. Bonus points if you can include 1/2 that aren’t IDists.

    How about you, Bill, do you advocate for distinguishing Intelligent Design theory from design theory, design thinking and design studies, so as not to confuse or conflate them, or not? If I recall, you prefer communicative darkness/closedness & conformity to DI rules and categories as your adopted & paid-in/paid-out program. Thus, it would mean, like Behe, you simply cannot publicly admit any distinction whatsoever between human and Divine or intelligence and Intelligence as part of the IDM’s broadly construed (big tent) universal designist worldview. Is that getting close?

    “Is it possible some time in the distant future humans will be capable of this?”

    Ah, you’d ask your friend Mike a futuristic question, involving what if’s, rather than addressing to him current challenges or problems? Would you not rather ask him, in response to many sincere, devout, scientists, philosophers and theologians to at least clarify terms, so that they do not seemingly aim to enforce or entrap religious believers into accepting their ideology, as if IDism were ‘supported by good science’? Why let him get away with being a decadently ignorant blissful black sheep, when instead he could eventually rise up out of ideological IDism like many other more mature people involved in science, philosophy, theology/worldview discourse do and have for many years?

    Behe said he was ‘interested’ to hear more about why it is wrong to universalize design & to conflate divine and human activities, complete & incomplete actions (as did Miller), but I really couldn’t tell if he was sincere, foolish, or indeed a willing Catholic heretic attempting to conflate Divine Design (Creation) with human design (creation). Is he a Roman Catholic novice or just uninterested in theology and philosophy in his rather boring biochemist lifeworld?

    Vincent Torley, the rather unusual ex-IDist Roman Catholic here at TSZ, capitalizes Intelligent Design properly because his is (clearly means to be) signifying the divine Creator. Why can’t Behe do this too? Why can’t colewd? Pugnaciousness (cf. ‘science uprising’ & ‘Design revolution!’ & ‘met their Waterloo’) has certainly been one of the main flags on the DI’s Seattle ship. Is that contestable on anywhere near remotely sane & civil grounds, colewd?

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  5. Gregory,

    If I follow. ID simply is making a case for a few point made in biblical creationism.
    they simply reached a great audience, became famous, and made a damn ggod case for thier main points. They rocked the casbah. its helpful to creationists and science innovators everywhere. It is one of the important concepts in modern science and that is why even common people have heard of the term and scientists , in unrelated subjects, are even more aware of the threat or welcome insight.
    I think iD, thus Behe and friends, is one of gods gifts to accuracy in these matters.
    I guess YEC predicted non YEC folks would see some of our points and here they are.
    yet iD is here and carved out its territory.
    yes i’m a fan. Its not just truth but a superior intellectual progress. its mankind advancing. Its not just people memorizing other older peoples accomplishments in science wHICH I note is 97% of them.
    ID is for winners and thinkers and surely in the future highways will be named after them. maybe one in Toronto. Sorry I thought you said you lived in Toronto. Its pretty bad here in some ways now. Don Cherry is right.

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  6. colewd: The hypothesis of the paper is that the ancestral animals carried all the WNT genes and being lost along the way explains the pattern.

    Yes, but what does that have to do with doing knock-out experiments in modern organisms? Just because an organism might have evolved to depend on the function of the gene now, does not mean the gene was necessary in some ancestral organism.

    To confirm the hypothesis they would need to show that this type of WNT gene loss is feasibley fixed in the population starting from an animal with all the WNT genes.

    But that would require re-creating the organism as it was back then. Organisms evolve, their genes mutate and change, they have interactions with other genes where they become dependent on them in novel and adaptive ways. Genes can become essential without having to start out essential. So if you knocked out the gene in a modern organism and it couldn’t live, all you would have shown is the gene is essential now. You would not have shown it has always been essential.

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  7. Gregory,

    How about you, Bill, do you advocate for distinguishing Intelligent Design theory from design theory, design thinking and design studies, so as not to confuse or conflate them, or not?

    I think the thesis is interesting but beyond my bandwidth at this point. As far as ID and its flavors go I am interested in using mind as a mechanistic explanation in science as I see physics hitting the same wall biology has.

    The fact is that what we observe in biology is telling us that if this is the product of a Devine mind then that mind is way ahead of ours based on what we observe in the cells. A protein with several functions with the same sequence is an example of a very sophisticated mind. Can our mind evolve to this level, who knows, but it is a very interesting idea to explore.

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  8. Rumraket,

    But that would require re-creating the organism as it was back then. Organisms evolve, their genes mutate and change, they have interactions with other genes where they become dependent on them in novel and adaptive ways. Genes can become essential without having to start out essential. So if you knocked out the gene in a modern organism and it couldn’t live, all you would have shown is the gene is essential now. You would not have shown it has always been essential.

    What if we did a mapping of the frizzled receptor? What would you expect? When I did limited alignment of the WNT I saw about 30% alignment between different WNT’s and 98% alignment between the same WNT in different animals. How would you explain this from an evolutionary perspective?

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  9. colewd: As far as ID and its flavors go I am interested in using mind as a mechanistic explanation in science as I see physics hitting the same wall biology has.

    Bill, how are you going to explore, mechanistically of course, what a disembodied mind can and cannot do?

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  10. PeterP,

    Bill, how are you going to explore, mechanistically of course, what a disembodied mind can and cannot do?

    Peter, with all due respect this is not an objection worth discussion. Many scientific mechanisms are not the only component involved in the affect. The identified mechanism is usually the most important.

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  11. colewd: Peter, with all due respect this is not an objection worth discussion.

    so as far as you are concerned the central, core tenant of your hypothesis is not worthy of discussion….got it!

    colewd: The identified mechanism is usually the most important.

    And I am asking how you are going to go about investigating how a disebodied mind can be investigated as the mechanism behind all of your claims. Funny that you can’t outline how this line of research should proceed.

    Seems to me the first thing you would need to do is to establish the plausability of a disembodied mind doing anything. Seems like a fatal error to me. How do you get around our lack of experience, evidence, or observations of a disembodied mind doing anything let alone existing in the first place.

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  12. PeterP,

    Seems to me the first thing you would need to do is to establish the plausability of a disembodied mind doing anything.

    If you think your objection has merit why don’t you show me how all other scientific theories require that the identified mechanism has to explain 100% of the effect described.

    Why don’t we call it a day and stop putting impossible burdens on each other 🙂

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  13. colewd: What if we did a mapping of the frizzled receptor? What would you expect? When I did limited alignment of the WNT I saw about 30% alignment between different WNT’s and 98% alignment between the same WNT in different animals. How would you explain this from an evolutionary perspective?

    More divergence between duplicates with different functions, more conservation between versions with the same or very similar functions.

    So in general, I’d expect (for example) Wnt1 from Homo sapiens to be more dissimilar to Wnt2 from Homo sapiens too, but Wnt1 from Homo sapiens to be more similar to Wnt1 from Pan troglodytes thant it is to Wnt2 from Homo sapiens.

    Because Wnt1 has been evolving differently from Wnt2 for a much greater period of time(from back around the very origins of multicellular animal life over 600 million years ago), than Wnt1 in Homo sapiens has been evolving away from Wnt1 in Pan troglodytes(they have only been evolving independently for about 5-7 million years).

    That’s the kind of pattern I would expect.

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  14. Rumraket,

    More divergence between duplicates with different functions, more conservation between versions with the same or very similar functions.

    They are the same function in most cases in different cell or tissue types. We see a duplication in one case staying very similar over time and another diverging quite a bit in the same animal in a different cell. Thoughts?

    Also the evolutionary comparison is involving chickens so at least 200 million years and Zebra fish 4 to 500 million years. They are still substantially more aligned than the different WNT’s in different cell types. 85% and 75% respectively.

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  15. colewd: If you think your objection has merit why don’t you show me how all other scientific theories require that the identified mechanism has to explain 100% of the effect described.

    I’ve not asked you for any explanation of the effect let alone 100%. but you knew that before you replied. I asked you how you were going to proceed in your research to demonstrate that the observed phenomena is rightly attributed to a disembodied mind. first out of the gate would be a demonstration of the/a disembodied mind. From there you could proceed to investigate what the disembodied mind can and cannot do.

    If the central tenant of your hypothesis is the existence of a disembodied mind that manipulates, or perhaps creates, matter I think it is a reasonable request that you demonstrate the existence of disembodied minds or at least propose a hyothesis that could be tested for the existence of a disembodied mind. Once you’ve accomplished that task then you can move onto discerning what a disembodied mind can or cannot do.
    Otherwise you are presenting a unfalsafiable hypothesis.

    As it stands you got zilch for demonstrating that disembodied minds even exist let alone addressing what they are alleged to do.

    If I were to claim that a race of Lemurians are responsible for volcanic eruptions then I think it would be a reasonable request of me to demonstrate that Lemurians exist. I would need to do this before I even addressed if they could influence volcanic eruptions or any other geological processes. Wouldn’t you agree?

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  16. PeterP,

    I’ve not asked you for any explanation of the effect let alone 100%. but you knew that before you replied. I asked you how you were going to proceed in your research to demonstrate that the observed phenomena is rightly attributed to a disembodied mind. first out of the gate would be a demonstration of the/a disembodied mind. From there you could proceed to investigate what the disembodied mind can and cannot do.

    This is not a claim I am making. This is your idea which I assert is nonsense.

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  17. colewd,
    “I think the thesis is interesting but beyond my bandwidth at this point. As far as ID and its flavors go I am interested in using mind as a mechanistic explanation in science as I see physics hitting the same wall biology has.”

    It shouldn’t be beyond your bandwidth to pursue a path of clarity in communication. That’s an attitudinal, not a time available issue.

    It seems, colowed, that you show yourself again as one of the conflators and obfuscators, universalizers of IDism. Is it true? It’s not much fun dealing with ideologues associated with the DI, so high up on their horse of incredulity posing as ‘scientific’ as if that defined their ‘genius’.

    Your claim of “using mind as a mechanistic explanation in science” sounds spectacular, fantastic, almost Kurzweil-like, and at the same time rather vague and unspecified. Which ‘in science(s)’? Why mechanistic, when alternatives are available and now flourishing in their own way, e.g. organic(ismic) thinking? Which mind(s)? Do you try to include a divine Mind, or do you limit the ‘mind as explanation’ to only human minds? Or both human & animal minds? Or AI also?

    If just human minds as explanations, then were you aware that there are already numerous fields of study, some of them with longer and some with shorter histories being taught at higher education institutions, that study this?

    The way you say it sounds rather like ‘protscience’, loose & fast, speculative fare. Have you published anything in a peer-reviewed journal (on this topic or others) before, colewd? Do you hold a master degree or phd in any relevant field that studies ‘mind as explanation’?

    The DI’s got Egnor. Good for doctoring, not so great at integrative communication of IDT for all the claims IDists have by now made upon it. There’s no other psychologist with the DI, is there? Dembski took some undergrad psych, is that supposed to count? What makes you think the DI or anyone associated with it has done much of any work on ‘mind’?

    Please don’t say the work of a USAmerican evangelical philosopher or a team of them on this is ‘top level’ without expecting laughter reply. Could you admit, colewd, the DI actually are pretty much all amateurs, other than Egnor on the physiological-material level, wrt the study of ‘mind’?
    https://www.discovery.org/store/t/philosophy-of-mind/

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  18. Gregory,

    Please don’t say the work of a USAmerican evangelical philosopher or a team of them on this is ‘top level’ without expecting laughter reply. Could you admit, colewd, the DI actually are pretty much all amateurs, other than Egnor on the physiological-material level, wrt the study of ‘mind’?
    https://www.discovery.org/store/t/philosophy-of-mind/

    I am not knowledgeable at all on all the activities of the DI. I think Behe has the most credible arguments. I also think Paul Nelson is solid along with Winston Ewert’s dependency graph concept. These guys are paid by the DI but their ideas are their own as far as I can tell. I don’t disagree with your objections it is just not that important to me.

    I think mind is as valid a mechanistic explanation for DNA sequences is as valid as matter as a mechanistic explanation for gravity. I see it also coming to play as we try to explain gravity at the atomic level. I think the objection to this is ideological and not scientific. The NCSE fights against ID and the DI fights against Darwinian evolution. This is where the culture war is being fought.

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  19. colewd: This is not a claim I am making. This is your idea which I assert is nonsense.

    No Bill, the disembodies mind as a mechanism is YOUR claim 100%. It’s the same baseless stupidity you’ve latched onto for the last 6 months.

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  20. colewd: This is not a claim I am making. This is your idea which I assert is nonsense.

    Actually, Bill, it isn’t my idea at all. However, I am glad to read that you think the concept is nonsensical and I agree with your assertion/sentiment wholeheartedly.

    I think the confusion has come about by someone posting this:

    As far as ID and its flavors go I am interested in using mind as a mechanistic explanation in science as I see physics hitting the same wall biology has.

    Imagine someone thinking that they could do an investigation into the mechanistic actions of a disembodied mind. Who ever heard of such a thing. I mean how would they even go about doing that? You are quite correct, Bill, to call that endeavor nonsense. Rest assured I agree with you on that issue so we have common ground together.

    FYI: You might want to change your login password, Bill, as it appears that someone might be posting under your name. The quote I highlighted above came from your account. I am sure you don’t want someone posting such nonsense in your name again.

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  21. PeterP,

    Imagine someone thinking that they could do an investigation into the mechanistic actions of a disembodied mind. Who ever heard of such a thing. I mean how would they even go about doing that? You are quite correct, Bill, to call that endeavor nonsense. Rest assured I agree with you on that issue so we have common ground together.

    I guess we have common ground here that your straw-man argument is nonsense.

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  22. colewd: your straw-man argument

    Bill, this is the consequence of you insisting that “mind” can be a mechanism. I know that you believe that some conscious Mind can figure out the correct genomic nucleotide sequence to build an organism beforehand. But without any details about the implementation of that Design, that doesn’t qualify as a mechanistic model; that’s still Paley’s analogy with human design.

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  23. Corneel,

    Bill, this is the consequence of you insisting that “mind” can be a mechanism. I know that you believe that some conscious Mind can figure out the correct genomic nucleotide sequence to build an organism beforehand. But without any details about the implementation of that Design, that doesn’t qualify as a mechanistic model; that’s still Paley’s analogy with human design.

    The implementation is not necessary to develop a theory. We just need to show the mechanism is capable of the task at hand. What we observed in the cell after Paley were structures that mind could produce. This is significant. DNA is of course an example as it is structured like a language.

    The details of how a mind does this or how a mind actually implemented what we are observing is interesting but not required.

    I use general relativity as an example. We know that mass curves spacetime but we don’t know the details of how this works yet the theory has been a standard in physics over the last 100 years.

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  24. colewd: The implementation is not necessary to develop a theory. We just need to show the mechanism is capable of the task at hand.

    Which is something you can’t even begin to do. But keep flailing away Bill. Someday someone may think your “mind magic POOF!” idea isn’t just your personal religiously motivated stupidity.

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  25. colewd,

    “I am not knowledgeable at all on all the activities of the DI.”

    Thank you for being open about it.

    “I think Behe has the most credible arguments.”

    As long as you admit Behe is promoting “theistic science”, see OP. Miller was more emphatic & obviously evangelicalistic about IDism than Behe, who was more ‘nuanced’. Yet Behe was no less in avoidance of over-generalizing with design universalism. This was the kind of audience I hadn’t seen him in before, since the DI filters Behe’s public appearance heavily & makes sure he is not seen as a Roman Catholic apologist, whereas his IDist apologetics often makes it sound more like the Architect god and Geometer of the Freemasons.

    “I think the objection to this is ideological and not scientific.”

    Yes, largely from some people and less so with others. There are scientific advances to deal with and serious philosophical challenges to IDT, which the DI avoids answering. There is ‘new science’ in the Kuhnian tradition, which ID is framed to oppose by inserting ‘Intelligence’ into natural science, rather than leaving intelligence in psychology & related cognitive fields.

    IDists are indeed largely ideological and minimally ‘scientific’. This isn’t even worth a pause to doubt. colewd, how would you rank Meyer, Dembski, Behe, Wells & Miller (or choose any other 5 ID leaders – the ones you think best argue for IDT) on a scale of ideological vs. scientific objection to the modern evolutionary synthesis (post-Darwinian)? I have found most IDists have ideological blinders on & don’t even know their own ideologies that they bring to the communication table.

    “This is where the culture war is being fought.”

    No, you are the culture war, Bill Cole. Look in the mirror, friend. Don’t blame it on anyone else, when you haven’t answered fairly or completely, while defending ideological IDism with rhetoric, rather than substance. The DI’s reps slander fellow religious believers who reject IDT. Is this ‘just’ according to your worldview? It looks like the DI’s paid staff culture warring in Canada to me.

    You say you don’t know *AT ALL* “the activities of the DI”. Yet those activities include printing & publishing most of ‘Intelligent Design’ theory’s papers & writings & financially supporting the Movement? Is your feigned ignorance of the DI now supposed to be a joke?! A friend of Mike’s & yet somehow a foe of the ID Movement, Bill, what’s this all about? It sounds like a confused & self-contradictory defense of theistic science, that has by now gone foul among both atheists/agnostics as well as more mature, careful and professional natural scientists (than IDists) who are religious theists.

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  26. colewd:
    PeterP,

    I guess we have common ground here that your straw-man argument is nonsense.

    Strawman? How so?

    I characterized your stated position (both of them) accurately. I know it upsets you that you are unable to articulate how you are going to demonstrate the existence of disembodied minds let alone how you are going to attribute any observation tou your alleged disembodied mind.

    Just admit that there is no evidence for diesembodied minds let alone any way forward to establish a disembodied mind exists.then we can move on to something less nonsensical for discussion.

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  27. colewd: The details of how a mind does this or how a mind actually implemented what we are observing is interesting but not required.

    Yes, so you keep saying, but without those “details” about the mechanism it can’t be a mechanistic explanation.

    It’s just the watchmakers new clothes.

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  28. Corneel,

    Yes, so you keep saying, but without those “details” about the mechanism it can’t be a mechanistic explanation.

    This is false. If you can assign it as a cause and test it, it is a mechanistic explanation. Please look at gravity and see that it is also missing detail yet matter is a mechanistic explanation for curved space time. Why are trying to apply an arbitrary standard here?

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  29. colewd: It’s not the argument.Its simply something you made up.

    It is certainly the argument you have made. You want to investigate that a ‘Mind’ is responsible for some observations. I didn’t make it up you make that argument repeatedly all the while being unable to demonstrate that a ‘Mind’ capable of doing what you claim even exists or how one might investigate the ‘Mind’s’ existence or actions direct or indirect. That the ‘Mind’ is alleged to be disembodied is also a major stumbling block for your research program evidenced by your failure to provide a way forward for your investigation.

    You were on the right track when you characterized the concept of a disembodied mind and any research into its existence as nonsensical. Freudian slip I suppose o your part.

    colewd: This is false. If you can assign it as a cause and test it, it is a mechanistic explanation

    This brings me back to my original question: How are you going to do this and what jsutification are you going to use to attribute ANY observation to an unobserved, untested, and unmeasurable disembodied ‘mind’ as being responsible?

    Matter and its mass are measurable. The force of gravity is measurable and those measures are used all the time to fly objects by distant objects and/or use their (distant objects) gravity for trajectory adjustment and to increse velocity of a distant spacecraft. None of this is available for a disembodied ‘mind’. How do suggest overcoming this quite major obstacle in your research endeavor?

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  30. colewd: If you can assign it as a cause and test it, it is a mechanistic explanation.

    In my view, a mechanistic explanation is one that shows how a system produces a phenomenon by the interaction of its constitutive parts, but your definition may be valid as well. I don’t know.

    Still, as PeterP’s insisting pressing should be telling you, “Mind” still fails the “test it” part of your definition.

    ETA: clarification

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  31. Corneel,

    In my view, a mechanistic explanation is one that shows how a system produces a phenomenon by the interaction of its constitutive parts, but your definition may be valid as well. I don’t know.

    I am simply using the standards for scientific theory. Mind is not a complete explanation as Peter is pointing out that you need mechanical implementation. Mind is the major missing component in purposely arranged parts and complex sequences.

    We need something to work against the UCD assumption as it appears there are thousands of wasted papers because their competing hypothesis is too weak.

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  32. colewd: Mind is the major missing component in purposely arranged parts and complex sequences.

    Incorrect! The ‘Mind’ is the missing component in your entire endeavor. without ‘it’ you might as well assign garden fairies as being the responsible entity and it would have equal evidentiary weight to your proposal.

    ‘Mind’ explains nothing whatsoever.

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  33. colewd: I am simply using the standards for scientific theory.

    LOL! No you’re not Bill. You’re mindlessly pushing your same MAGIC! explanation despite being corrected a few hundred times.

    We need something to work against the UCD assumption as it appears there are thousands of wasted papers because their competing hypothesis is too weak.

    Right Bill. Science needs an uneducated Creationist internet blowhard to “correct” thousands of peer-reviewed professional scientific papers. 😀

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  34. colewd: We need something to work against the UCD assumption as it appears there are thousands of wasted papers because their competing hypothesis is too weak.

    Come on Bill, I already told you, UCD is not the very same as evolution. Try and understand the terms before using them. The competing hypothesis to UCD would be non-universal common descent. It’s straightforward.

    Now, “needing” a competing hypothesis doesn’t mean going automatically for “magic” as a hypothesis Bill. As you noted before, some foundations are needed before we can propose a solution, and your “proposal”, a “mind” doesn’t qualify. As I’ve told you before, where’s the evidence of minds doing anything without the rest of the stuff that comes with a mind? Where’s the evidence of minds existing on their own? Where’s the evidence of minds existing before organisms that have a mind existed?

    Long list of requirements before a “mind” would qualify, yet you happily disqualify well known mechanisms because, well, just because, yet a mind, nah, who cares about any foundations. A bit of a double standard. Are you really blind to this obvious problem with your thinking?

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