Home > Anti-evolution > Steve Barr (scientist and Christian!) on ID. Bill Dembski (nobody!) in reply.

Steve Barr (scientist and Christian!) on ID. Bill Dembski (nobody!) in reply.

February 10, 2010

Steve Barr (whom I have had the pleasure of spending a significant amount of time with discussing such things as E.O. Wilson’s idea of conscilience and Catholic philosophy) has this to say in First Things (that noted liberal evolutionist journal of record) about ID:

It is time to take stock: What has the intelligent design movement achieved? As science, nothing. The goal of science is to increase our understanding of the natural world, and there is not a single phenomenon that we understand better today or are likely to understand better in the future through the efforts of ID theorists. If we are to look for ID achievements, then, it must be in the realm of natural theology. And there, I think, the movement must be judged not only a failure, but a debacle.

And it moves on from there. Predictably, Dembski has a little hissy fit that begins with “Steve Barr and I used to be friends.” Apparently Dembski can’t help but make it personal and then claim that all of Barr’s successes are due to … wait for it … Dembski!

Let’s hammer this home:

The goal of science is to increase our understanding of the natural world, and there is not a single phenomenon that we understand better today or are likely to understand better in the future through the efforts of ID theorists.

Indeed. Despite the handwaving that the end of Dembski’s piece (and his tip o’ the hat to his virtual lab), he’s unable to provide a concrete example of an advance we have gotten because of “ID theorists”.

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  1. Michael Fugate
    February 10, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    They cannot participate in science because they are unwilling to operationally define their terms. Meyer, for instance, hypothesizes in his recent book that the information needed to produce the first cell was provided by an intelligent designer. He never provides valid, reliable and consistent definitions of design, intelligent design, information, functional information, specific information, complexity, irreducible complexity, etc. If you can’t define your variables, you can’t do science.

  2. Noreen Qureshi
    February 11, 2010 at 4:30 am

    It is pretty unfortunate that these two professionals have resorted to arguing (including bashing one another publicly through their blog posts) instead of progressing productive debate.

    However, whichever side you agree with, Steve Barr’s posting on his blog has been criticized as being too general and unclear by others in the blogging community. To get a better understanding of his argument, I would recommend reading his book, Modern Physics and Ancient Faith.

  3. February 11, 2010 at 7:23 am

    Well said, Mike. I think Dembski’s self-serving antics are becoming too much even for the magazines that used to be sympathetic to ‘specified complexity’.

    Look for him to ask Ann Coulter to attack Barr in her next column.

    😉

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