[HT Uncommon Descent]
I recently ran across a two part article on Uncommon Descent which attempts to answer the question of what practical use intelligent design serves in our pursuit of scientific truth.
Part 1 opens up with a provocative and succinct statement that “Every science works as much from its limits as it does from its potentials.” John then goes on to outline a 5 point argument against the open-endedness presupposed in a pure Darwinian system:
- In order for evolution to be open-ended (i.e. work in environments which it did not have in mind beforehand) it must be on a Universal system (a system which can be programmed open-endedly)
- Universal systems are chaotic
- Chaotic systems are characterized by chaotic mappings between input configuration and results
- Natural selection assumes a fairly continuous mapping between input configuration and results
- Therefore, evolution cannot be open-ended, because navigating such a chaotic mapping would require design, and not having such a chaotic system would violate the notion of being open-ended in #1 & #2.
He then goes on to outline how, according to Turing, logical constraints on the input and outputs of systems necessitate a closed, as opposed to open, system of biological development.
In the second part the logic surrounding software development is compared to the apparent biological system at work and we are presented a very compelling argument, again, necessitating a closed rather than open system.
It looks like ID can actually help us out a lot when deciding where to look for the next big scientific breakthrough. Perhaps there’s a reason after all why the pioneers of science came from a Judeo-Christian ethic. As the initial statement indicates, we would do well to examine the potential of any philosophy that lies behind our scientific inquiry.