Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Scoville scale of dangerous questions

Taped to the wall just next to where I am writing this is a cut-out from an old issue of "New Scientist" that describes the Scoville scale. This scale describes the hotness (spicyness) of food on a linear scale. The hotness is determined by diluting a known amount of a food item until you no longer can taste the burning sensation. The rating a food item gets on the scale is represented directly by the amount of dilution necessary. While a typical Jalapeno pepper measures a paltry 2,500-8,000 on this scale, the Guiness Book of record desribes a pepper that measure 580,000(!) and there is even one that measure 855,000!!!. Pretty hot. That's interesting and all, but what has this got to do with ID? Well, William Dembski proposes that we should ask some dangerous questions for materialism and grade them on the Scoville scale. Asks he:

What would happen if the general public not only disbelieved materialism (as it is, they disbelieve it now) but also decided to cease funding it out of their tax dollars?
I'll let the ID crowd worry about that question and ask a similar one on my own:
What would happen if the general public not only embraced non-materialism (even more than now) but also decided to cease funding materialistic science, instead channeling all those tax dollars into non-materialistic "science"?

- What would happen if prayer studies superceded drug trials?

- What would happen if divining became a legitimate scientific tool?

- What would happen if "God-did-it" became a valid scientific explanation?

I'd say that the above would rate fairly highly on the scale, some possibly coming close to the equivalent of pure capsaicin.

Small note: I just noticed that this is my 100th post on this blog. Hurrah for me.

45 Comments:

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