Sunday, January 4, 2009

Thanks, Walt Ruloff, for Boot to de Head

Now on DVD, Expelled! rises zombie-like from the mud eager to om nom nom the few science-informed brain bits left among the general public. Read an interview with Walt Ruloff here: No Apologies Allowed: Producer defends anti-Darwin movie.

Please, Mr. Ruloff, allow me to explain science:

We measure our confidence in the truth of various claims about the world using a method called "reason" or "science" or "methodological naturalism" or "critical thinking" or "hypothetico-deductive reasoning." All these terms and a few others refer to a method involving four basic tests:

1. Corroboration: Claims which can be independently corroborated deserve more of our confidence than claims which cannot be corroborated.
2. Falsification: Hypotheses or explanations must be subjected to some effort to prove them false before we take them seriously.
3. Logic: Hypotheses and their implications must not be self-contradictory and must not contradict what we already know.
4. Parsimony: The fewer unfounded assumptions, the better.

ID proponents have not yet formulated any hypotheses that can be tested and independently corroborated. This is why ID is not science. At best it might be termed a "conjecture."

A scientist who says, "I think there might be something to this ID thing," isn't going to get fired. Gut feelings, hunches, speculations, are part of the human condition. However, any scientist unable to distinguish a conjecture from a claim that passes the four tests above should be fired.

My request to the uber-wealthy who think filmmaking might be fun: Try not to confuse America. You wouldn't like America when it's confused.


  1. Interestingly Michael Behe's department have distanced themselves from his pseudoscientific ooga booga

  2. This bit was telling:

    But alas, Ruloff said, "When we first watched that movie it was verrrrry boring."

    Never underestimate the damage that can be done by an under-stimulated idiot with a short attention span and too much money.