Over on Panda’s Thumb PvM reaches some interesting conclusions from Prof. Psiaki’s guest post of 4/6. He seems particularly drawn to Psiaki’s final sentence:
The principle of irreducible complexity does not give one all of biology, but if true, it serves to divert the biologist from wasting time by trying to answer a question to which there is no scientific answer.
and the connection made in that post with Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. Somehow this is taken to mean that ID theory is purely vacuous, a god-of-the-gaps argument, and a method for lazy scientists to avoid working on the problems they ought to be solving.
There are two important issues that seem to be misunderstood here. The first is that the Uncertainty Principle, while negative, is not in any way, shape or form an argument from ignorance. When we say "we are never going to be able to determine, simultaneously, the exact position or momentum of a particle" we are not saying that science today is sadly limited, and we have some gaps in our understanding of how things move. Rather we are saying there is a point where even the best research will get us nowhere; in Psiaki’s words: there are some questions to which there is is no scientific answer.
Moreover, like the principle of irreducible complexity in biology, the Uncertainty Principle may not give one all of physics, and yet is critical. When quantum mechanics was still new and untried, this annoyingly negative prediction made physicists like Einstein wish very much the theory wasn’t true. But that does not change the fact that today it is a robust and highly productive field.Can we choose our science based on what is most comfortable to work with? Or are we really interested in what matches reality?