Monday, August 31, 2009

Why Intelligent Design is not science

The Multi-city Examiner recently ran three articles -- or at least three so far -- on why Intelligent Design is not science. I thought it was interesting, so here is a brief re-cap and the links to the three articles themselves.

Article 1: Why Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory:

(1) it does not offer a natural explanation for observed facts, (2) it does not make specific predictions about facts not yet observed, (3) It does not offer a testable hypothesis, and (4) It does not leave itself open to adaptation as new information arises.
Article 2: Intelligent Design, The Anti-Concept:
It exists only as an anti-concept to evolution. ID’s two main ideas are irreducible complexity and specified complexity, neither of which makes any sense unless used as a contrast to evolutionary theory. . . . They are ultimately just arguments from ignorance. Proponents of ID are saying that certain biological features had to be supernaturally created all at once if ID proponents can not imagine how they might have evolved. If scientists routinely accepted this kind of reasoning, there would be no forward progress in science at all. As soon as they came across something they could not explain, scientists would have to take that as proof that something supernatural happened, and research would end there.
Article 3: Intelligent Design's attacks on science:
Legitimate scientific theories stand on their own merits and have seldom if ever enlisted popular movements to lobby the scientific community. Scientists, like all humans, have their biases, but legitimate theories are considered, even when most scientists question their veracity. Having failed to mold ID so that it meets the criteria for a scientific theory, however, ID proponents have made coordinated efforts to undermine science itself. Many of their as yet unsuccessful efforts have made headlines.
Why is this debate so important to me? I think Mr. McAlpin's articles summed things up pretty well:
It is important, however, that only evidence-based reasoning be used in our classrooms and laboratories. All meaningful technological and medical progress has been the result of evidence-based experiments and argument, and allowing a faith-based concept to trump the evidence in biology would effectively undermine the goal of research: answering the unanswered questions. If ID proponents were successful, whenever science came up against a question for which it had no [immediate] answer, the supernatural would be used as an explanation, and research would end. That would not be science.
I did add the word 'immediate' in there, although that wasn't really necessary. I mean today even if there is a scientific answer, there are those who want to see it tossed out for one that is more theistic-friendly. But for the most part, I see plenty of the God-Of-The-Gaps arguments where people try and shoehorn God as an explanation just because we don't have a 100% perfect answer to a question today.

Well still trying to finish my visit to the Creation "Museum" and my final critique of the Stephen C. Meyer disaster book. Wish me luck and thanks for the patience.

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