Thursday, August 27, 2009

With apologies to Tom Gilson: I don't like philosophy much

ID's effort to be a bona fide science seem like something from the distant past.

Instead the marquee ID proponents are finding solace, well, anywhere at all. Any port in the storm. On Uncommon Descent, the anti-materialism, anti-methodological naturalism, ID-is-a-true-science standard bearer, Dembski, adrift and floundering in the swells, seeks purchase on the floating debris of obscure philosophical musings. He quotes philosopher William Lycan:
I mean to have shown here that although Cartesian dualism faces some serious objections, that does not distinguish it from other philosophical theories, and the objections are not an order of magnitude worse than those confronting materialism in particular. There remain the implausibilities required by the Cartesian view; but bare claim of implausibility is not argument. Nor have we seen any good argument for materialism. The dialectical upshot is that, on points, and going just by actual arguments as opposed to appeals to decency and what good guys believe, materialism is not significantly better supported than dualism…. Yet, I am inclined to believe, the charge of implausibility is not irrational or arational either, and I would not want this paper to turn anyone dualist. Have a nice day. (Dembski's emphasis.)

Bleh. (Have a nice day!) As a scientist, such gibberish makes my mind reel. I have no clue what that "objections are not an order of magnitude worse than those confronting materialism in particular" really means. It seems to say: yes dualism has philosophical objections, but the good news is they aren't ten times worse than the objections to materialism.


Dembski views this as an oracle, seeing, in his own words, nothing less than "A new day is dawning". Someone, somewhere, with academic credentials, is saying something mildly negative about materialism—and that's enough for Dembski to herald YAPS. Why, it's as if a wedge has been inserted into a previously unnoticed crack in edifice of materialistic philosophy. Now it's only a matter of time. Break out the single malt.

Double bleh. Newton dawned a new day. Martin Luther dawned a new day. But while this kind of chitchat (from Lycan) may be of interest to philosophers, it ranks on the "dawning" scale somewhere around a late-night rerun of Petticoat Junction.

But maybe that's just the old Presuppositional Apologist within. I don’t even like the proofs of God from Aquinas and Anselm. I prefer: Jesus loves me this I know, for the bible tells me so. I don't really give a rodent’s derriere if a philosopher "shows" that my position is not an order of magnitude worse than a contrary view. Or three orders of magnitude better.

Yet Another Paradigm Shift


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