"The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits." G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A FALSE DICHOTOMY: Science vs Intelligent Design

I realised today something quite obvious, after reading a rather staunchly dismissive response to a book review of The Fallacy of Fine Tuning (Victor Stenger). The response was decisve in its dismissal but superficial if not outright vacuous in justifications for that attitude (I know the person hasn't read the book).

Intelligent and curious individuals with a desire to genuinely understand themselves and the world they live in will search with an opend mind. This philosophical inquiry will attract them to any information that brings them close to revealing yet another mystery, or a new conceptual approach which may make the search more efficient, or even revise and inform the previous approaches. Dubious and self contradicory views will naturally be either subjected to second rate or outhright rejected depending on the degree of internal inconsistencies or dissonances with common sense and direct observation. For example it is this sort of attitude that abandoned a once popular Flat Earth belief. This kind of apprach is a humbling attitude for it soberly aknowledges our epistemological limitations, but makes do with what it can, improving where it can, revising where possible.

The false dichotomy is between scientific thinking, which is highly correlated with the attitude described above, and just one theory/belief - namely Intelligent Design (clearly a subversive oxymoron) that deems itself special for all the wrong reasons (there's nothing genuine about it's pursuits for truth and understanding).

The point is that we don't choose between science and the latter, the distinction (and the correct dichotomy) is more along the lines of  being genuinely curious about the world, and hence searching and discovering its wonderful mysteries or happy to conform to a simplistic set of views that quenches ones inner fears and desires.

Another way of putting this is considering Intelligent Design as one of a plethora of theories and philosophies. Succumbing to the false dichotomy creates an illusion of some special status for ID theory - a status it doesn't deserve.

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