Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Steve Fuller on Kuhn vs. Popper - ID Is Scientific

I've just read Steve Fuller's book Kuhan vs. Popper: The Struggle for the Soul of Science (Icon Books, 2006), which is a sociology of science review of the debate between Thomas Kuhn and Karl Popper's philosophies of science in the twentieth century. I'll probably get a few posts out of highlighting some passages in this book that should be of interest to readers of this blog.

On page 75 Fuller talks about a critique of Darwin given by William Whewell andJohn Stuart Mill as 'the sort of complaint one might expect today from proponents of 'Intelligent Design Theory', the scientific version of Creationism.'

I suppose I can live with ID being described as a 'version of Creationism', if I'm allowed to mentally downgrade from the capital 'C' of so-called 'Biblical Creationism' (be it 'Young' or 'Old' Earth Creationism). If 'creationism' can mean any teleological view of the subject of study, then in that sense ID is a form of creationism (but so are directed panspermia and Platonism). Nevertheless, the associative resonance of 'creationism' doesn't help to convey the message that ID makes no religious assumptions and leads to a conclusion that can be embraced by atheists (indeed, which is embraced by some atheists).

However, at least Steve Fuller (a self declared secular humanist) is affirming that ID is scientific.

Of course, 'being scientific' does not mean 'being true'. Fuller appears to be agnostic about whether or not ID is true. And nor does 'being true' automatically mean 'being scientific'. ID would rather be true than scientific - but it claims to be both. Still, it's nice to see someone who isn't an ID proponent agreeing that ID is science, even if they don't agree that it is true (another example here is philosopher of science Bradley Morton).

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