SkeptiCamp Phoenix 2009

March 29, 2009

Skepticamp.jpg

SkeptiCamp Phoenix 2009 went off wonderfully yesterday. Big thanks to Jim Lippard for doing such a wonderful organizational job.

The picture above is me beginning my 20 minute gallop through the issue of academic freedom and the intelligent design movement. Shorter – and undoubtedly more coherent -  version is:

  • Evolution is not an unchallengeable orthodoxy within science and major areas (of evolution as fact, the pathway of evolution, and its mechanisms) have been challenged in the past by researchers working within the field. These researchers used the institutions of science (peer reviewed journals etc) to bring about change.
  • Despite the claims of the DI, there is no evidence that there is active suppression of ID proponents in any way that would prevent them challenging the status quo using the institutions of science. There is no evidence of the academic freedom of ID supporters being infringed.
  • There is currently no theory of ID and it is likely that any theory of ID would eventually have to fallback on supernatural action and thus violate the bedrock principle of methodological naturalism. Given the success of MN and its centrality to modern science, this would most likely mean that any ID theory would fail to convince the scientific community.
  • The appeals to “academic freedom” to teach the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution are spurious and indicate the lack of a positive argument for intelligent design and its ultimate reliance on supernaturalism.

Slides are here.

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  1. March 30, 2009 at 11:53 pm | #1

    I was at Skepticamp specifically to hear your lecture, but had to leave early, hope it went well. Perhaps there will be other opportunities to hear you speak.

  2. John Lynch
    March 31, 2009 at 12:20 am | #2

    @ Noah
    Yeah … I ended up a little late in the batting order :)
    I’ll be giving an expanded version of the talk at the American Humanists meeting here in Tempe in early June.

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