Thursday, April 2, 2009

Should God be kept out of Science?

An article interviewing Prof Steve Fuller, a controversial apologist for intelligent design theory who also testified during the Dover Trial. "Should God be kept out of Science?" I know Prof Fuller gets lots of attention because he is apparently not particular religious. But I think he misses the point of one of the key reasons Intelligent Design (ID) doesn't belong in the science classroom, especially in HS science class. One of the contentions is that if ID proponents are unwilling, or unable, to do the scientific work that would gain them acceptance, then why are we even having this discussion?

So in answer to the question "Should God be kept out of science?" I have to say that God does not belong in science because we cannot use God as an answer to any inquiry. However in my opinion when Fuller tries himself to take God out of ID, but that still doesn't make ID scientific. Even without God in the mix, ID is bad science and we should do as much to keep bad science out of the science classroom as we should to keep pseudo-science out of it.

Yes, the religious connections between the ID movement and Creationism will always cause issues of any type of secular acceptance. But there is an easy way to deal with it, and that is to DO THE SCIENCE. Until Behe, West, Fuller, and the other ID apologetics do that, there is very little reason to even think that ID belongs in science class. Right now, because of the lack of science work being done in support of ID, it is not science! I know that many ID apologetics raise all kinds of reasons why they can't get the work done, everything from conspiracy theories to a general mean bulling attitude from the science community, but that sure didn't stop scientists in the past from reaching their goals. It's that very lack of science will keep ID relegated to the same pseudo-science as tea-leaf readers and feng shui consultants.

For grins here is my response to the article:

“As Fuller sees it, ID theorists seek to embark on an evidence-based inquiry.”

Fine, then let them embark on this journey AND THEN approach the science community with the results. At that point they may have a reason to be included in the teaching of science. The main problem right now, regardless of the religious underpinnings of ID, is that they are asking for a seat at the table WITHOUT having done the science to support their being there.

Claiming to be science is not the same thing as having done the legwork to be accepted as science. Right now, today, Intelligent Design is not a scientific endeavor but a political movement. If Fuller, and the other ID proponents want to change that, they need to get off their collective butts and do the experimentation, do the investigation, publish their work and methodology in peer-reviewed journals so others can confirm and support their work.

But they are either unable or unwilling to do so. Instead they publish in popular press, where there is no requirement for support. They open their own publishing company (Discovery institute Press) where the requirements of evidence and support are even less. They also open their own lab (Biologics Institute) which has not offered a single scientific support in over 5 years.

And after all that, we are supposed to just invite them into the science class when they have yet to offer anything approaching science? I don’t think so! If we do, then I think it’s only fair to bring in Astrology into the Astronomy curriculum, Numerology in Mathematics, Alchemy in Chemistry, and Phrenology for psychology — after all they have the same scientific pedigree as Intelligent Design.


  1. Fuller claims that ID proponents do have evidence but the mean scientists aren't paying any attention. In the Dover trial he claimed that this justified teaching ID in public schools as a form of "affirmative action."(His words). I don't think anyone has done more to damage ID's stature in the politically conservative world than he did with that statement. It really was a wake up call for a lot of the more secular conservatives that ID was really not a good idea. Opponents of ID should be thankful that Fuller managed to hit one of the right's hot buttons and try to use it as a justification for ID. Maybe the NCSE should give Fuller a grant to keep spouting his mouth off?

  2. I think the NCSE loves it every time Fuller makes a statement. He gets pushed to the forefront as part of the claim that ID is not Creationism because he's not a theist. Just another tactic!