On Ideology. Between Secular & Secularism – what’s the similarity, difference or overlap?

Adding to that a 2nd question: If a person seeks ‘secularization’ (cf. laïcisation), i.e. ‘more secularity’ in their life and in the lives of those around them, in their hometown and in the nation in which they live, and even globally, does that qualify for the operational term ‘secularist’? In this sense, is ‘secularism’ the proper term for the ideology that such a person is promoting?

One might think it a polite necessity for certain voices to avoid all contact, and any proper and timely discussion of ideology, when addressing these two terms – secular & secularism – semantically, philosophically & especially ‘skeptically’. Some people of course just don’t make a priority focus on ideology, as Paul Nelson recently revealed here (re: ideological MNism, while avoiding ideological IDism), saying “‘Ideology’ is fine with me as a descriptive noun,” but is “[n]ot one of my lexical habits”. Even though Nelson is certainly not representative of TSZ voices, it might make a person wonder if there is a healthy skepticism at TSZ about conflating the terms ‘secular’ & ‘secularism’, since it has also proven difficult here to differentiate them, just as it has at Peaceful Science. For others, the notion that ‘secular’ is now broadly considered as a condition, while ‘secularism’ counts as an ideology, isn’t all that difficult to acknowledge and accept.

In a rare visit to TSZ, for example, S. Joshua Swamidass wrote: “For the record, I consider myself a secular scientist.” Is Swamidass 1) over at PS & 2) at his host institution, the same kind of ‘secular scientist’ as most readers of this? Or does he instead just work (as a natural scientist) at a ‘secular institution’, more accurately meaning a ‘public university’ rather than a ‘private’ one? As for me, I’d rather consult someone like Charles Taylor, than a philosopher of biology or computational biologist/MD about ideology and the contemporary meaning of ‘secular/secularism’. That just seems more appropriate.

Swamidass would surely decry being called a ‘secularist’ (though likely wouldn’t accept calling secularism an ideology), and doesn’t appear as one. Yet at the same time, he has not convincingly distinguished the two terms, and instead often poorly, improperly (or at least unconventionally) used the term ‘secular’ as if it were a synonym for ‘fair’ or ‘unbiased’. Is that how people at TSZ view these terms, ‘secular’ & ‘secularism’, as indicating ‘fair’ & ‘unbiased’? Surely that is among many definitions of ‘secular’, one that a certain community of people prefers more than another?

If Swamidass is indeed actually promoting ‘the secular’, would it not be fair to say that he is proposing a kind of ‘secular Science of Adam’, for example, and a ‘secular Genealogy of Adam and Eve’, apparently as an attempt at a kind of new compromise mainly for YECists, even without outwardly using the term ‘secular’ to try to persuade them? There remains some confessional-professional clarification on Swamidass’ part needed to untangle the science he is proposing from the scientistic-evangelicalistic ideology. A lot of important thinking beyond only ‘secular vs. confessional’ seems to be missing in his analysis.

In case it were not already clear, we are not talking about ‘secular’ & ‘secularism’ as ‘strictly scientific’ or even ‘loosely scientific’ terms. That’s obviously not the main point, though ‘scientificity’ often gets mistaken for a goal, even the primary one, these days. Scientists themselves gain no upper hand from the average person on the street in the prospect of clearly understanding the difference between these two terms. The goal of understanding and properly articulating ‘secular’ & ‘secularism’, therefore, should not be a ‘strictly scientific’ one, but should rather go beyond ‘mere science alone’ to address some of the deeper needs (e.g. epistemological), values & motivations involved. Secular humanism, for example, including its ideological impact on science, differs significantly from religious or spiritual humanism, the latter which can still include and promote so-called ‘secular politics’, yet without promoting, secular anthropology, cultural materialism, and an anti-religious or ‘religiously neutral’ approach to society.

Let respondents to this OP state their own understanding, impressions, and goals in defining ‘secular’ and ‘secularism’ as they see fit, preferably within a broader science, philosophy, theology/worldview conversation for those who speak the collaborative language. Can both positive and negative meanings of these two terms be revealed? ‘None’, as an alternative term & worldview, in contrast, seems obviously self-defeating. Another way to ask it: is The Skeptical Zone (TSZ 1), really just as much The Secular Zone (TSZ 2), according to the way Elizabeth Liddle framed it?

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44 thoughts on “On Ideology. Between Secular & Secularism – what’s the similarity, difference or overlap?

  1. For what it’s worth, I have always considered “secular” (and perhaps “secularism”, though this formulation is new to me) as a term used by religious believers as a way of distinguishing religious belief from, well, something else. I have never (in my insulated life) heard anyone use the term in any context where religion is not front and center. A scientist may self-describe as rigorous, skeptical, methodical, concerned with operational definitions, etc. But never as “secular” UNLESS the topic is religion and the scientist (who finds religion irrelevant) must be labeled in religious terms.

    To address your final question, I would never have thought of The Skeptical Zone as being The Secular Zone, because presumably (and sometimes actually) this forum is concerned with how evolution, biology, genetics work, what their mechanisms are, what evidence is to be considered and why, and how we might disagree with one another about these topics. But perhaps Lizzie did intend a forum for religious debate, and that context perhaps imposes “secularism” on those more concerned with science.

    I confess I have sometimes gone for years at a stretch without the necessity for a religious thought to cross my mind. I’ve been too busy designing workable (and affordable) systems, fixing bugs, etc. I guess the optimist sees the glass as half full, the pessimist sees it as half empty, the engineer sees the glass as twice as big as it needs to be, and the religion-addled see an opportunity to pray before drinking. Only by bringing in this 4th person do the other three become secular.

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  2. I think the original idea of secularism stems from the Catholic distinction between the truths revealed through natural human reason and the truths revealed through divine revelation. Secularism is the realm demarcated by the former set of truths. Hence, Aquinas’ project to explain reality in terms of both nature and grace: drawing on the best philosophy and theology of his day.

    That being said, there is also an overlap between the two realms: secularism can express theological truths, and religion can express secular truths.

    In my perspective, ID is a modern approach to this idea and is the only true secularism. A ‘secularism’ that purposefully excludes the very possibility of theological conclusions is not really being fully open to the range of possible truths accessible through human reason. ID, on the other hand, acknowledges the possibility of such truths, along with the possibility there may not be any such truths. So, ID is the truly open minded secularism of our era. Seems much more liberal than either the atheist or religious fundamentalism, hence why it is hated by both sides.

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  3. EricMH,

    “hence why it is hated by both sides.”

    Do you actually think that the vast majority of Abrahamic monotheists who reject IDT, do so simply because “they hate it”?! No, c’mon, seriously? If so, that shows your level of regard for non-IDists as highly skewed & biased, or your ability to think with integrity highly stunted.

    All of the Abrahamic monotheists that I’ve met who reject IDism, EricMH, despite how you paint us, don’t actually “hate” IDism or IDists. It’s just that IDism is excessive, arrogantly ‘scientific’, ideologically dangerous, and a dead-end for sincere, nice, kind, naive, mainly evangelical Protestants. Should we not help others from falling into that ideological trap, which at least Dembski & Luskin felt a need to ‘retire’ from?

    Atheists may instead throw anger or hate on EricMH, which he will then simply turn into a “martyr complex” for IDT, which he already seems to be self-developing. Many IDists psychologically scapegoat themselves, while at the same time vilifying their ‘opponents’ (‘the Darwinists’). This is unnecessary & will eventually come to be seen as a grave stain on Behe, Meyer, Johnson et al. for the rest of their lives, which is why they can’t now turn away from their double talk to actually speak openly & honestly in public.

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  4. “ID is the truly open minded secularism of our era.” – EricMH (IDist)

    ROTFL!

    This is the same person who claimed IDists can be atheists. Yet EricMH, graduate of the DI’s summer program, still can’t identify an actual, real, living-breathing atheist who accepts IDism. So why should anyone trust his words?

    I certainly don’t ‘hate’ EricMH, though he would seemingly like to paint it that way, part of the victimization narrative for IDT. He just seems simply so very confused by & about IDism. And it’s quite sad that the DI ‘educates’ young minds with evangelical apologetic propaganda in the name of ‘Science’ to actively stop thinking & instead twist terms to mean whatever they want, as the quote above indicates.

    IDism is a secular ideology?!

    “Nonsense, even when uttered by highly [or lowly] credentialed [computer] scientists, is still nonsense.” – John Lennox

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  5. I think it would be fair to describe secularism as an ideology, and secularists would be people who support secularism. It should also be noted that freedom of religion is a part of secular thought. Most secularists think government should be secular, as well as the bulk of the job market. Most secularists think it would be wrong to ban Christians from working at a car factory simply because of their religious beliefs. Secularists also fiercely support the rights of people to worship and believe as they want, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the same rights for others.

    A secular scientist is simply someone who doesn’t insert their religious beliefs into their scientific work. As Joshua Swamidass and I have both agreed on, in the vast, vast majority of cases there is no way to determine a scientist’s religious beliefs by reading one of their scientific papers. If you read one of Josh’s peer reviewed papers, I would strongly suspect that you couldn’t determine what his religious beliefs are by looking at just that paper. That is secular science. Just as with secularism in general, secular scientists are also able to have private religious beliefs, and are free to express those beliefs outside of their secular science work.

    Secularism can exist alongside religiosity. They aren’t antonyms. A religious population can have a secular government and a secular workplace alongside religious institutions.

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  6. EricMH: In my perspective, ID is a modern approach to this idea and is the only true secularism. A ‘secularism’ that purposefully excludes the very possibility of theological conclusions is not really being fully open to the range of possible truths accessible through human reason.

    Science doesn’t preclude the possibility of theological conclusions. What science precludes is untestable hypotheses. Nowhere in the scientific community are there thought police that arrest people for considering possibilities. What secular science does do is require scientific conclusions to be the product of the scientific method.

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  7. EricMH: ID, on the other hand, acknowledges the possibility of such truths, along with the possibility there may not be any such truths. So, ID is the truly open minded secularism of our era. Seems much more liberal than either the atheist or religious fundamentalism, hence why it is hated by both sides.

    Rather it’s ignored as unproductive.

    But give that, according to you, ID is potentially able to explain much more than alternatives when will you draw your first solid conclusion?

    I believe it was also you who was saying that ID has commercial applications. If so, when will you make your first sale?

    In other words, if ID has the potential to be much more productive then alternatives then where is the actual evidence for that and any results?

    For example, in your study of ID over the years do you believe that

    a) the designer designed at the start of the universe and everything is just unrolling according to that plan
    b) the designer intervenes in ‘real time’ to alter DNA etc?
    c) other

    It seems like a fairly basic conclusion to be able to come to after all this time. Do you worship aliens (potentially) or not?

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  8. Whether a set of ideas (a ‘conceptual scheme’, if you will) is an ideology depends on its social function: does it tend to reinforce oppression and support the interests of those in power, or not? So the question “is secularism an ideology?” depends on how secularism is used. There are lots of examples, past and present, in which secularism does have an ideological function — and there are lots of examples, past and present, of secularism as anti-ideology or as a critique of ideology.

    But I’m just a USAmerican philosophist so what do I know?

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  9. Gregory: Do you actually think that the vast majority of Abrahamic monotheists who reject IDT, do so simply because “they hate it”?!

    I don’t know what the fundamental reason is, but the reasons that are given don’t make any sense. Plus, they come covered in really strong invective, which definitely looks ‘hateful’ in my view of thing. Finally, there are all the people, both religious (Sternberg & Gonzalez & Dembski) and irreligious (Berlinski & Nagel), that are vilified for going against the groupthink, questioning Darwinism, and proposing there might be merit to ID type theories.

    If this is not hate and thought policing, I’m not sure what to call it. What rational reason can you provide for such treatment at the hands of the ‘freethinking’ scientific establishment that is supposedly all about looking at the data first and questioning the reigning ideology?

    In truth, this seeming irrational and extreme dismissal is what really interests me in ID, especially now that I’ve personally examined what the theory says within my sphere of expertise and found it to be very non controversial. Certainly nothing in Dembsk’s work that merits the sort of response he receives from others in his field, that’s for sure.

    T_aquaticus: Nowhere in the scientific community are there thought police that arrest people for considering possibilities.

    There certainly are. People have been fired and kicked out of universities for questioning the status quo. Watch Expelled.

    OMagain: But give that, according to you, ID is potentially able to explain much more than alternatives when will you draw your first solid conclusion?

    On TSZ I’ve drawn quite a few in the realm of computer science and information theory. I’ve also made some tentative proposals in the area of bioinformatics on this site.

    OMagain: In other words, if ID has the potential to be much more productive then alternatives then where is the actual evidence for that and any results?

    Not something my current responsibilities let me spend a lot of time on, but this is the direction I’m going, directly applying Dembski’s theory to business intelligence:

    https://mindmatters.ai/2019/07/how-business-intelligence-can-break-the-data-deadlock/

    Watch this series to see a particular technical implementation of the idea:

    https://mindmatters.ai/t/teaching-to-the-test/

    And finally, I’ve started a sci fi serial based on ID theory and Mind Matters:

    https://mindmatters.ai/2019/09/our-weapons-have-no-souls/

    And there are a couple other publications I’ve listed on TSZ where I’ve practically applied these ideas.

    So, to some degree I’ve made good on my claims.

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  10. Kantian Naturalist,

    I’m just a USAmerican philosophist”

    Yes, I find that an accurate description of you. Sad, but apparently true. There’s many such ‘scholars’ nowadays, please don’t feel special for it. What comes across in your words here is adoration of sophistry & sophistication, not clarity or simplicity in wisdom. And I’m rather sure that your ancestors would agree with this assessment, at least those who were religious ____ & not postmodern secularists like yourself.

    Your words above indeed reflect the shallow & misleading USAmerican approach to ideology, which has led many astray, when it has not more often been ignored. Notice that ideology is not part of PhD in philosophy (of biology) Nelson’s “lexical habits”? They (most USAmerican philosophists) think ideology is only or largely an issue of ‘politics & power,’ as so they get stuck in a narrow definition, unaware of a broader and more insightful conversation. Yet as a way of organising ideas, one can safely put aside the political realm to observe the great impact of ideology on society, culture, & even in oneself.

    There is really no question “is secularism an ideology?” for anyone serious about the conversation who appreciates accuracy of the English language. Of course it is. What is seen with KN is a soft secularist definition of secularism attempting to inoculate it in order to on-board. Disenchantment, agnosticism, irreverent scholasticism, confident skepticism, & anti-theological dismissiveness appear to be the baseline of KN’s ‘secular ______’ worldview. Sorry, folks, there’s little to respect in that.

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  11. EricMH,

    “I don’t know what the fundamental reason is, but the reasons that are given don’t make any sense. Plus, they come covered in really strong invective, which definitely looks ‘hateful’ in my view of thing.”

    Do you have an actual desire to “know” so that you can “make sense” of those reasons, for which you’d be willing to put in some effort? So far you have run away from my calm, reasoned, persistent, & consistent questions.

    Ok, how about this? Why don’t you list the reasons you’ve been given by Abrahamic monotheists for why they reject IDT/IDism? That would show you’ve actually tried to grapple with “the fundamental reason(s)”. There have been quite a few papers and even books by anti-IDism Abrahamic monotheists. Have you read any, EricMH? If so, which ones? I don’t read any “strong invective” in those writings, only concern for the integrity of science, philosophy, theology/worldview discourse that the IDM has contaminated with its legacy of double-talk & (revolution!) posturing.

    You say “the reasons given don’t make any sense”. I support many of those reasons & know them well from a variety of sources. Another option might be that maybe you just don’t understand them, EricMH. Your training is quite specialized in wires, maths & codes, after all. If you’ve been reading largely IDist materials, it’s bound to negatively impact your awareness of such critiques, which otherwise you might show respect and attention to.

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  12. “I’ve personally examined what the theory says within my sphere of expertise and found it to be very non controversial.” – EricMH

    We’ve gone over this before & you failed to back up your bloated IDT language. And made silly disingenuous statements, like “I think I might agree with you generally, but it’s hard to know exactly what your point is.”

    My point is simple: there is no IDT (from the IDM, your comrades) for human-made things. Do you wish to disagree? If so, show us where it is written down & published. Thanks.

    The answer you give is important because your ‘field of expertise’ (on the coding & engineering front) entirely involves “human-made things”.

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  13. EricMH: If this is not hate and thought policing, I’m not sure what to call it. What rational reason can you provide for such treatment at the hands of the ‘freethinking’ scientific establishment that is supposedly all about looking at the data first and questioning the reigning ideology?

    The people you list weren’t scorned by the scientific community for championing ID. They were scorned for the dishonest, lying, and scurrilous attempts to discredit actual science while bypassing all accepted scientific methodology and protocols and pushing their thinly disguised anti-science Creationist bullshit directly to the lay public.

    There certainly are. People have been fired and kicked out of universities for questioning the status quo. Watch Expelled.

    I thought you had more intelligence than to fall for such ham-fisted Creationist lies and propaganda. Looks like I gave you way too much credit.

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  14. Gregory: Why don’t you list the reasons you’ve been given by Abrahamic monotheists for why they reject IDT/IDism?

    This I haven’t looked into as much, b/c it’s usually philosophical/theological which is irrelevant in my mind. I’m most concerned with the mathematics, since there is no ambiguity in math, and only a few like Shallit and English have semi coherent critiques along those lines.

    I’ve read Beckwith, Ayala, Cordova, Swamidass, and Freser. I’ve read snippets from Van Til and other Christian philosophers I forget. I’ve read through the Biologos forum. Torley has also apparently rejected ID, but I cannot find his explanation as to why.

    None of them actually deal with any inherent problems in ID. It’s all b/c ID doesn’t fit whatever their personal philosophy/theology is, and so they don’t like it. So, for the religious rejection of ID, it just woolly headed preference, and in my opinion is really because they want to be part of the cool crowd. Nothing rigorous there to deal with.

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  15. Adapa: The people you list weren’t scorned by the scientific community for championing ID. They were scorned for the dishonest, lying, and scurrilous attempts to discredit actual science while bypassing all accepted scientific methodology and protocols and pushing their thinly disguised anti-science Creationist bullshit directly to the lay public.

    That’s what people say, but when I look into the issues a bit, all that is just nice framing of their censorship. I’ve spent quite awhile looking into Dembski’s take on ID, and as I’ve extensively mentioned here there is no problem, and certainly nothing that merits the scorn people pile on him. And, by framing it as a moral issue like this the critics rationalize the insults and other demeaning phrasing they use. So, it’s clearly censorship driven by some kind of irrational motivation, which looks a lot like hatred to me. Yourself can’t help but include such language in your reply on the subject, which indicates there is a lack of cool headed rational thinking going on behind the words.

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  16. EricMH: That’s what people say, but when I look into the issues a bit, all that is just nice framing of their censorship.I’ve spent quite awhile looking into Dembski’s take on ID, and as I’ve extensively mentioned here there is no problem, and certainly nothing that merits the scorn people pile on him.And, by framing it as a moral issue like this the critics rationalize the insults and other demeaning phrasing they use.So, it’s clearly censorship driven by some kind of irrational motivation, which looks a lot like hatred to me.Yourself can’t help but include such language in your reply on the subject, which indicates there is a lack of cool headed rational thinking going on behind the words.

    The ID community has a long history of confusing criticism with censorship. You act as if a Flat Earther is lent credence by the criticisms scientists hurl at them. Do you really think a university geology program would hire a Flat Earther? Do you think this would indicate some sort of unfair bias?

    Instead of playing the persecution card, go out and do some science. Get back to us when you have something that adheres to the scientific method. Until then, don’t expect to be a part of the scientific community.

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  17. EricMH: That’s what people say, but when I look into the issues a bit, all that is just nice framing of their censorship

    That’s exactly the disingenuous reply I’d expect from one of the DI’s stooges.

    If IDers spent 1/100 the time on actual science they spend on whining about being persecuted martyrs they may finally achieve something.

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  18. T_aquaticus: The ID community has a long history of confusing criticism with censorship.

    People getting fired and journal papers getting retracted purely for ideological reasons is definitely censorship. That happens to ID proponents.

    As for the criticism, a little bit has actual logical content. The vast majority is ad hominem and public shaming. Not exactly the same as censorship, but also not conducive to free inquiry 🙂 And certainly not the sort of exchange acceptable for level headed rational adults. Comes across as schoolyard bullying, and I’m never on the bully’s side.

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  19. EricMH: None of them actually deal with any inherent problems in ID. It’s all b/c ID doesn’t fit whatever their personal philosophy/theology is, and so they don’t like it.

    No, it’s because they recognize ID as the completely scientifically unsupported religiously motivated horseshit it is. ID’s problem is it has not one iota of positive evidence to back up its bluster. NOT ONE. ID can’t even come up with any testable hypotheses. It’s 100% hype and propaganda, 0% substance.

    ID loves to recruit young ignorant fools like you who are long on self-righteous whining but completely lacking in anything of scientific worth.

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  20. EricMH: People getting fired and journal papers getting retracted purely for ideological reasons is definitely censorship. That happens to ID proponents

    BULLSHIT with a capital BULL.

    Do you really think repeating the DI’s standard lies and excuses is going to make ID into a real field of science?

    Why don’t you provide a list of ID papers which were submitted to and then rejected by mainstream scientific journals strictly for ideological reasons and not because their “science” sucked out loud. We’ll wait.

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  21. EricMH: Comes across as schoolyard bullying, and I’m never on the bully’s side.

    You have no problems aligning yourself with an organization of professional liars like the DI just because they share your religious views however.

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  22. EricMH: People getting fired and journal papers getting retracted purely for ideological reasons is definitely censorship.That happens to ID proponents.

    Again, feigned persecution does nothing to support ID.

    As for the criticism, a little bit has actual logical content.The vast majority is ad hominem and public shaming.Not exactly the same as censorship, but also not conducive to free inquiry And certainly not the sort of exchange acceptable for level headed rational adults.Comes across as schoolyard bullying, and I’m never on the bully’s side.

    What matters is scientific output.

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  23. Well, it doesn’t seem this is going anywhere. I personally know people such as Dembski, Crocker and Gonzalez who were shut down just because of their views, not because their scientific work was bad. Sanford’s recent paper with Cordova was rejected by multiple venues for bogus reasons. Everyone agreed the science is solid, but made up reasons why the paper should not be accepted. Meyer’s paper being rejected and then Sternberg getting fired is definitely pretty sketchy.

    Of course, you can beg the question, and claim their science is bad because you don’t like their views. Not much can be said to such circularity.

    I’ve extensively documented on this site how Dembski’s work is legit. He has published a number of journal articles at this point in mainstream non-ID journals. I personally have published one ID work at a non-ID conference. You can check out Dr. Marks’ extensive list of ID publications at his site.

    Anyways, my points are well supported. And the fact you all flip out when I say this continues to illustrate you are not coming from a cool headed rational place. Something other than reason is driving you, and probably best to look into that.

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  24. EricMH: This I haven’t looked into as much, b/c it’s usually philosophical/theological which is irrelevant in my mind.”

    Yes, it shows that you haven’t looked at how and why Abrahamic monotheists reject IDT/IDism. And that is the answer to why you don’t understand. Are you not willing even to try to understand?

    “I’m most concerned with the mathematics, since there is no ambiguity in math, and only a few like Shallit and English have semi coherent critiques along those lines.

    Shallit & English are both atheists/agnostics. It seems you misread my questions to you. And Dembski’s incomplete ‘mathematical theory of ID’ is something a ‘God particle’ aspiration, in his own words. Besides, one doesn’t need to argue ‘Design’ with a Platonist; IDT takes an assumption & tries to turn it into a conclusion.

    “I’ve read Beckwith, Ayala, Cordova, Swamidass, and Freser. I’ve read snippets from Van Til and other Christian philosophers I forget. I’ve read through the Biologos forum. Torley has also apparently rejected ID, but I cannot find his explanation as to why.”

    Beckwith & Feser are philosophers, Swamidass is a natural scientist. All three do an excellent job of calmly, directly, even peacefully, rejecting IDism. Van Til is apparently no longer a Christian, and neither is Ayala. And Torley hasn’t published a single peer reviewed article in his life. Cordova is a crank-scientist YEC-IDist. On the level of bloggers, Mike Gene, also once a promoter of IDT, finally concluded he cannot in good faith call IDT a ‘strictly scientific theory’. Is that really all you’ve got? If so, it’s no wonder you’ve been brainwashed by IDists!

    BioLogos – spelled with a capital L (is it ignorance or disrespect you voluntarily show to them in your words?) – has done well enough in its rejection of IDism among evangelicals while it mainly wishes to convert Protestant YECism to accept limited evolutionary biology. IDT just isn’t that significant with its ‘minimal revolution’ rhetoric for most natural scientists to give it their attention away from other more fruitful projects.

    “It’s all b/c ID doesn’t fit whatever their personal philosophy/theology is, and so they don’t like it.”

    You sound so emotional, EricMH, thinking we reject IDT simply because we “don’t like it.” This just sounds foolish. That you won’t even face our direct criticisms of & challenges to IDism is on you, not on us.

    “in my opinion is really because they want to be part of the cool crowd. Nothing rigorous there to deal with.”

    The cool crowd?! So you’re anti-social, impolite & insular (the latter which was shown above, reading selectively outside of IDism’s propaganda war)?

    Repeat: My point is simple: there is no IDT (from the IDM, your comrades) for human-made things. Do you wish to disagree? If so, show us where it is written down & published. Thanks.

    Every time EricMH avoids this question it reveals the duplicity at the heart of his primitive IDism, a proud idolatrous attack on mature religious thought about Creation. And no shame about it, just EricMH’s rationalist-evangelical tricks!

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  25. EricMH, sorry, but your loose thinking & misnaming exposes your IDism as trivial. Human beings make things; voila, IDT! That’s intellectually insulting rubbish. You talk with big & fat revolutionary! rhetoric, and even when you get crushed, act like you didn’t. This is why the IDM is rejected by many and loathed by some; sheer & utter duplicity & irrationality. Wishing better for you; and a more constructive conversation as a result.

    You said, “Something other than reason is driving you, and probably best to look into that.”

    Yes, this is exactly the same case with why you won’t answer my simple, clear, direct question to you above. It would destroy the mirage of ‘scientificity’ that you seem so brutally intent to hang your backhanded apologetic life on. It would be best to look into how false your words appear to religious theists who hold PhDs in relevant fields who reject IDism. You might discover that you’re not an Emperor (& obviously neither is Dembski), but that your irrational claims reveal you are wearing no clothes at the bequest of ideologues in an Emerald City.

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  26. Gregory: Repeat: My point is simple: there is no IDT (from the IDM, your comrades) for human-made things. Do you wish to disagree? If so, show us where it is written down & published. Thanks.

    I wish to disagree. I’ve applied IDT to human made things. That’s the major focus of the writing over at Mind Matters. I also developed some ideas during my PhD work, one I published in a proceedings with Bartlett. It’s self published, we put together an online conference ourselves, so nothing great. But, it still shows it’s possible to apply IDT to human beings. In fact, that is my main interest and focus, as I believe that is where much technological promise lies. Perhaps you missed my links to my MM articles earlier in this thread on the topic.

    And the constant accusations and grandstanding you employ also strike me as weird. Just the whole tenor of the critics’ criticism, including your own, seem somewhat unhinged. To be perfectly honest, it seems like you all are irrationally scared of something.

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  27. EricMH,

    Wish all you want; the evidence & better ideas betray you. You speak without coherence in pretending to have “applied IDT to human-made things”. NONE of the IDM’s leaders at the DI do this and have explicitly denied that there is ANY IDT of human-made things.

    Yes, I am tracking Mind Matters, driven by fellow IDist crackpot Denyse O’Leary of Uncommon Descent, a still lovable Roman Catholic at the journalist/news helm. Please keep pushing it there, EricMH; the way its going your words are often going to come back to haunt the IDM with fumbling philosophistry outside your spheres of competence.

    Your words here now fly in the face of people like John West, who cancelled the “Intelligent Design in the Humanities & Social Sciences” because he realized there could not be an IDT in HSS without destroying the ‘scientificity’ of the DI’s claims of IDT as a holy grail for theistic science. Do you wish to contribute to that unknowingly with your electrical engineering & mathematics mindset? Pure dehumanization is what it would contribute to; taken to the extreme for effect, the (properly uncapitalized) ‘intelligent design’ of Auschwitz. The best of the IDM had no answers to this at the DI without needing to commit moral gymnastics against their theology/worldview. This is the Faustian bargain you’ve traded any decent career reputation for in embracing IDism.

    Please don’t lump me in with atheist/agnostic critiques, EricMH. This is why I have specified that it is critiques from religious folks that we are talking about between us. You acknowledge this is a weakness of yours & that you haven’t put in the time reading our work. I find it a very significant gap in your thinking, one that could eventually be closed with a heart for fairness & integrity, having already passed through that “ID might be legit if…” stage, and having attended the DI’s Summer Program.

    You provoke people calling them ‘unhinged’, yet claim atheists can be IDists (unproven, no examples given) & believe that “ID is the truly open minded secularism of our era.” As one of the few sociologists who has studied the IDM for almost 2 decades, this is fringe crackpot material, even among IDists at the DI. Either that or just someone who engages in willfully mangling English language to suit his own pet definitions & evangelicalist ideology.

    IDT is not a “secularist” idea, EricMH. Please give your head & heart a shake & ask anyone at the DI to back you up on this. They won’t.

    Younger sir, I believe in God, the Life Giver, Creator, Doer of wond’rous things. Do please tell what you, with “expelled syndrome” think I, who have simply outgrown it & found better options, am “scared of” about IDism? Psalm 118:6

    What makes people frustrated with IDists is that, despite calm, clear, easy to understand, and also devastating critiques of IDT, IDists just stick their fingers in their ears & continue to push their propaganda (there is no better word for it). You keep pushing dead ‘scientific’ arguments as if they were alive. God is alive, EricMH. IDism is a deadly reactionary pathway to idolatry – call it ‘designolatry’. Sadly, this is what echoes from your “cool headed rational place”, having lost a sense of intellectual shame, still exaggerating & equivocating & apparently not even noticing yourself doing it.

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  28. EricMH: Sanford’s recent paper with Cordova was rejected by multiple venues for bogus reasons

    I don’t know about any of the other things you listed, but anything with Cordova is bound to be deeply confused bullshit masquerading as “deep insights,” which pass only within ID-creationist circles precisely because they don’t know the jargon, yet get get mesmerized by it, and thus fail to see that Salvador doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

    So, if something By Salvador serves as exemplar of persecution against IDiots, then I doubt any of the other things in your list would mean much in terms of authentic persecution.

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  29. Boston Review essay reviewing McCarraher’s critique of capitalism: “[He] thinks that the fundamentally secular approach to self and world that we find in Maslow is inconsistent with our true nature, and our true needs. We can live properly in the world only if we understand the world for what it is: not brute matter for our exploitation, but a God-drenched cosmos that is already suffused with meaning, if we know how to look for it.

    The Enchantments of Mammon: How Capitalism Became the Religion of Modernity
    http://bostonreview.net/class-inequality-philosophy-religion/james-g-chappel-bad-romance

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  30. EricMH: Sanford’s recent paper with Cordova was rejected by multiple venues for bogus reasons.

    Name the venues and give their reasons for the rejection. I think you’re lying to save face. Prove me wrong.

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  31. EricMH: To be perfectly honest, it seems like you all are irrationally scared of something.

    LOL! If you projected your own ignorance and fears any brighter you could be seen from the ISS. 😀

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  32. BruceS: Boston Review essay reviewing McCarraher’s critique of capitalism: “[He] thinks that the fundamentally secular approach to self and world that we find in Maslow is inconsistent with our true nature, and our true needs. We can live properly in the world only if we understand the world for what it is: not brute matter for our exploitation, but a God-drenched cosmos that is already suffused with meaning, if we know how to look for it.

    The Enchantments of Mammon: How Capitalism Became the Religion of Modernity

    Thanks for the link to that review! That critique of Maslow was tantalizing and I might read it just for that!

    I was very intrigued by Chappel’s brief comparison between McCarraher and Hägglund. I read This Life and his conception of both “secular faith” and “spiritual freedom” deeply resonated with me. (This is not a surprise since Hägglund was deeply influenced by Hegel and by Heidegger.) But I was frustrated by Hägglund’s one-dimensional understanding of religious faith, and that made the book unpleasant to read. Still, his critique of capitalism made me aware of Postone’s Time, Labor, and Social Domination, which fundamentally transformed my understanding of what Marx was doing.

    I’ve added The Enchantments of Mammon to my Amazon wish list (the irony not being lost on anyone) and I look forward to it!

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  33. Kantian Naturalist: That critique of Maslow was tantalizing and I might read it just for that!

    It was also the Maslow reference that caught my attention. I suspect that I am one of the few posting at TSZ who was subject to several corporate training courses which took Maslow and other pop psychology seriously (tidbit for the G-man: I am INTJ; or at least I was when I took that test many years ago).

    It’s interesting that, despite their differences on secularism, both the Hagglund and McCarraher books criticize capitalism as the ideology which is the source of Western social malaise.

    Full disclosure: I’ve only read reviews of the books so far. Here is a New Yorker essay on the Hagglund book
    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/05/20/if-god-is-dead-your-time-is-everything

    May be paywalled if you do not have a subscription. Message me if you are interested in reading it.

    As I recall, the McCarraher essay said the book did not have much to say about how to replace capitalism. The Hagglund review was not kind to his economic ideas for replacing capitalism.

    Fun Canadian fact. Here we have the NDP, a party with a democratic socialist platform which is said to be similar to that of Bernie Sanders. From 2015-19, that party was the provincial government of Alberta, our version of Texas.

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  34. BruceS: It was also the Maslow reference that caught my attention. I suspect that I am one of the few posting at TSZ who was subject to several corporate training courses which took Maslow and other pop psychology seriously (tidbit for the G-man: I am INTJ; or at least I was when I took that test many years ago).

    I was never subjected to corporate training courses but there is a lot of pop psychology that trickles down to academia. Every new psych fad gives rise to a new version of “how students learn”. For a while everyone was crazy about the idea of different “learning styles”, even though that has been largely debunked.

    The bit about Maslow that really caught my attention is how well it coheres with the attitudes that my students bring to the classroom with them. When we talk about what people need in order to live well, they always say the primary needs stuff — food, water, shelter. It takes some effort on my part to emphasize that non-dysfunctional communities are a genuine human need, as are opportunities for play, creative self-expression, some degree of control over what happens to them, etc.

    I don’t think anyone knows how to replace capitalism — certainly not Marx himself, who wrote that he was not interested in writing “recipes for the cook-shops of the future.” For my part, I’m on board with Fully Automated Luxury Communism (see here and here). But I will freely confess that I have no idea how to get there, or if the resurgent xenophobic ethno-nationalists will permit it.

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  35. EricMH:
    Well, it doesn’t seem this is going anywhere.I personally know people such as Dembski, Crocker and Gonzalez who were shut down just because of their views, not because their scientific work was bad.

    I have looked into the Gonzalez affair, and the fact that you think this supports your argument demonstrates how you have blinded yourself. Gonzalez was not getting grants, was not producing new publications on work he had done at Iowa State, and was not graduating students. Those are the metrics Iowa State clearly stated were going to be used for determining tenure, and Gonzalez was severely lacking. No one in the ID crowd will accept the facts on this matter.

    Sanford’s recent paper with Cordova was rejected by multiple venues for bogus reasons.Everyone agreed the science is solid, but made up reasons why the paper should not be accepted.

    Bare assertions with no evidence to back it. We would need to see the reviewer’s comments and the paper.

    Meyer’s paper being rejected and then Sternberg getting fired is definitely pretty sketchy.

    Sternberg resigned from his edotr position at the journal before anyone was aware of the infamous paper, and he was not fired from the Smithsonian. Again, you guys can’t seem to get your stories straight.

    Of course, you can beg the question, and claim their science is bad because you don’t like their views.

    We can demonstrate that their science is bad.

    I’ve extensively documented on this site how Dembski’s work is legit.He has published a number of journal articles at this point in mainstream non-ID journals.I personally have published one ID work at a non-ID conference.You can check out Dr. Marks’ extensive list of ID publications at his site.

    You will need to be more specific, and also demonstrate how any of this work provides positive evidence for ID instead of just arguments against evolution.

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  36. T_aquaticus:
    You will need to be more specific, and also demonstrate how any of this work provides positive evidence for ID instead of just arguments against evolution.

    I think one must give Marks and Dembski credit for gamesmanship. Dembski is known for producing derivative but ideological neutral math in his publications, neither supporting ID nor arguing against evolution. His self-published material, last I read, had zero citations within the math world.

    Marks (along with Axe and Gauger and others) has earned a well deserved reputation for making biological claims they represent as essential to evolution, and then doing meticulous lab work demonstrating that those claims are false. Unfortunately, what they mainly demonstrate is they completely misunderstand evolutionary theory, and are disproving things no non-creationist biologist would ever suggest.

    Kind if like claiming the secret of flight is to flap your arms real hard, doing the experimental research showing that this will never work, and concluding that flight is impossible. If you didn’t know better, you’d scratch your head and wonder what they were smoking. If you knew that they STARTED with the devout belief in the impossibility of flight, you’d find their experimental methodology easier to understand.

    1+
  37. Kantian Naturalist: I don’t think anyone knows how to replace capitalism

    McCarraher himself summarizes his book in Aeon
    [start of quote]
    “The pre-modern belief in the enchantment of the world – modernised in Romanticism, blending scientific rationality with Hopkins’s conviction of God’s worldly grandeur – offers a more humane and generous account of our place in creation, and it provides the most compelling foundation for opposition to capitalism.”
    [end of quote]
    https://aeon.co/essays/capitalism-is-modernitys-most-beguiling-dangerous-enchantment

    I suspect that view fits with the one underlying the OP.
    I wonder how close Hungland’s vision is, despite its secular basis. But doing that type of analysis is way beyond my pay grade.

    I’d focus on something much simpler: the power current versions of capitalism claim on defining the nature of a meaningful, self-actualized life. In both the US and China versions of capitalism, a meaningful life centers on working long hours in order to be able to consume things.

    I think that needs to change to something that recognizes the reality of climate change, sustainability, the rise of the service and gig-based economy, and the need to address economic inequality. The Green New Deal is one vision of how to do that. Whether it is possible to detail and implement that vision given the political realities of the US and of China is TBD.

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  38. Kantian Naturalist:

    For my part, I’m on board with Fully Automated Luxury Communism

    “In the twenty-first century, new technologies should liberate us from work”

    I think that vision relies on capabilities of Human-Like AI and robotics which will allow AI-based robots to replace people. Those capabilities for doing service jobs, that is most jobs, are still far off.
    I’ve linked Marcus articles on why that is in Sandbox; his book with more details is now out:
    https://www.amazon.com/Rebooting-AI-Building-Artificial-Intelligence/dp/1524748250/

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  39. BruceS,

    Oh, I’m quite sure you’re right about the limitations of AI, and Bastani plays fast and loose with both the technology and the politics.

    Thanks for the Marcus recommendation. He got good blurbs from Rodney Brooks, and that goes a long way in my book. Another friend of mine told me to read Marcus’s The AI Delusion, and I think I will read one of them but not sure if it’s worthwhile to read both. The more I learn about the biology of cognition, the less sure I am that it’s even possible to have cognition in a system that isn’t governed by the need for satisficing (even if suboptimal) homeostasis.

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  40. Kantian Naturalist: read Marcus’s The AI Delusion,

    I had a quick look at AI delusion courtesy of libgen. It’s by a different author, Gary Smith. In terms of AI shortcomings, Smith covers the same ground as Marcus, but with less detail and not much focus on Deep Learning technology. But then Marcus spends time talking about what needs to be added to AI to get human life intelligence, whereas Smith does not (instead he spends inordinate time looking at problems predicting the stock market).

    Marcus sees an important role for GOFAI and top-down symbolic learning in achieving human-like intelligence; he does not say much about embodiment. Melanie Mitchell has a book which covers the same ground as Marcus for Deep Learning limitations, but she sees embodiment as an important gap to be filled
    https://www.amazon.com/Artificial-Intelligence-Guide-Thinking-Humans-ebook/dp/B07MYWPQSK

    One idea would be to read first half of AI Delusion for review of issues, then last 2-3 chapters of each of Mitchell and Marcus for approaches to achieving AGI.

    You can also find podcasts where Mitchell and Marcus summarize their books.
    Here is Mitchell with Sean Carroll;
    https://www.preposterousuniverse.com/podcast/2019/10/14/68-melanie-mitchell-on-artificial-intelligence-and-the-challenge-of-common-sense/
    A transcript is available.
    Here is Marcus on Exponential View:
    https://hbr.org/podcast/2019/10/beyond-deep-learning-with-gary-marcus

    All of these books are mainly about the gap between human intelligence and current AI. They touch briefly on the other issues with current AI: current misapplications of deep learning (eg biases in uses in the legal system and in screening CVs for hiring) and also on how to build moral AI and so avoid life-ending superintelligence, but there better books for these topics. None of the them speak to use of current AI in warfare, eg: AI-powered military drones unleashed by terrorists.

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  41. Kantian Naturalist: the less sure I am that it’s even possible to have cognition in a system that isn’t governed by the need for satisficing (even if suboptimal) homeostasis.

    I think embodiment and active learning in the world will be needed to achieve a common sense understanding of time, space, causality (core needs for AGI according to Marcus). There is a proposed Turing test extension for testing that involving not only language, but also exploration and construction.
    https://aaai.org/ojs/index.php/aimagazine/article/view/2645

    Perhaps the key role for energy management and maintaining homeostasis would be to in having emotions motivation, in particular moral motivation.

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