Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Intelligent Design: Proving a Negative

Creationism and intelligent design have only one significant difference: creationism is religion not science, and intelligent design (ID) is teleology, not science. ID exists for only one purpose, makes only one assertion: life did not evolve on earth. There are no relationships genetically or taxonomically among the earth's creatures, there is no evidence of changing forms and climate through the geological timeline.There is simply nothing else to ID. It exists only to crush out a theory with the force of fact, that is, evolution through natural selection.

By Michael Shermer, Los Angeles Times

According to intelligent-design theory, life is too complex to have evolved by natural forces. Therefore life must have been created by a supernatural force — an intelligent designer. ID theorists argue that because such design can be inferred through the methods of science, IDT should be given equal time alongside evolutionary theory in public school science classes. Nine states have recently proposed legislation that would require just that. ... But let's be clear: Intelligent-design theory is not science.
The proof is in the pudding. Scientists, including scientists who are Christians, do not use IDT when they do science because it offers nothing in the way of testable hypotheses. Lee Anne Chaney, professor of biology at Whitworth College, a Christian institution, wrote in a 1995 article: "As a Christian, part of my belief system is that God is ultimately responsible. But as a biologist, I need to look at the evidence….
I don't think intelligent design is very helpful because it does not provide things that are refutable — there is no way in the world you can show it's not true. Drawing inferences about the deity does not seem to me to be the function of science because it's very subjective." ...
The term "intelligent design" is nothing more than a linguistic place-filler for something unexplained by science. It is saying, in essence, that if there is no natural explanation for X, then the explanation must be a supernatural one. Proponents of intelligent design cannot imagine, for example, how the bacterial flagellum (such as the little tail that propels sperm cells) could have evolved; ergo, they conclude, it was intelligently designed. But saying "intelligent design did it" does not explain anything. Scientists would want to know how and when ID did it, and what forces ID used. END QUOTE.

Intelligent design should not be given equal time with evolution in the study of science because it is not science. Perhaps we should invent a new discipline, Teleology, to accommodate those people born into and truly fixated on the banal culture of "values." A separate discipline will be the only way to tell the real workhorses of analysis from the ravening values wolves in the future.

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