Views on Intelligent Design
Of course, I still believe that Judge Jones should not have ruled on the scientific merits of ID in the Kitzmiller v. Dover case -- see "Traipsing into breathtaking inanity -- absurd rulings in Dover Intelligent Design case." This belief is not based on my view that ID has scientific merit -- I would feel the same way about anti-evolution arguments based on the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, which I feel do not have scientific merit.
Claim -- ID is just a religious concept -- it is just creationism in disguise
Answer -- I think that the name "ID" is unfortunate because it implies the existence of a "designer," and then people start asking questions like "who is the designer?" and "what does the designer look like?", and it often does no good to explain that ID is not supposed to speculate about a designer. I think that it would be much better to stick to names like "irreducible complexity." I don't even like to use the name ID, but I am afraid that if I don't, some people might not know what I am talking about.
Claim -- ID is not a scientific "theory" or "hypothesis"
Answer -- If scientific "theory" and "hypothesis" are defined as complete scientific explanations for natural phenomena, then I agree that ID is not a scientific "theory" or "hypothesis." But why should science be arbitrarily limited to complete scientific explanations? Why cannot a naturalistic criticism of a scientific theory also be considered to be scientific ? Often, describing why something does not work can be as important as introducing something that works or appears to work. When Thomas Edison was accused of not making progress in his efforts to invent a practical electric light, he said, "I've made lots of progress -- I now know lots of things that won't work."
Claim -- ID, unlike evolution, does not make predictions and is not testable or falsifiable.
Answer -- Because macroevolution in progress cannot be directly observed, the "predictions" that evolution theory makes about macroevolution are just predictions of likely future finds of more circumstantial evidence of macroevolution -- for example, the fossil record is used to make predictions of likely future finds of "missing link" fossils. And evolution theory is not testable or falsifiable at all in regard to the claim that macroevolution was driven solely by natural genetic variation and natural selection. In many ways, evolution theory is no more scientific than ID and is often even less scientific than ID because evolution theory often strays beyond what can be proven or supported by scientific evidence. If evolution in fact occurred solely by "natural" occurrences, then those occurrences would have been either extremely unlikely or not "natural" in the usual sense.
Claim -- ID is the only scientific (or pseudoscientific) challenge to evolution theory
Answer -- Of course, Darwinists do not make this claim outright -- they only imply it because the Dover decision explicitly banned only ID. Some other challenges to evolution theory involve -- (1) co-evolution, (2) the propagation of beneficial mutations in sexual reproduction, and (3) the mathematical probability of evolution.
Claim -- raising doubts about evolution theory is going to hurt the technological competitiveness of the USA
Answer -- Most practical applications of the theory are based on microevolution, whereas the big controversy is over macroevolution. Also, scientists can still use the tools and concepts of evolution theory even while believing that all or part of the theory is untrue, in the same way that electrical engineers use complex-number math to analyze AC circuits even though the complex numbers and complex-plane vectors bear no direct relationship to the physical quantities of the circuits. Furthermore, many foreign countries have ID movements of their own -- see
http://messageboards.aol.com/aol/en_us/articles.php?boardId=558015&articleId=12673&func=5&channel=News (note -- most of the URL links on this webpage do not work just by clicking on them because parts of the links are not highlighted in blue -- it is necessary to copy and paste the complete link. On the link to the reports on Australia, Eastern Europe, Germany, etc., just clicking on the link will work but will bring up the wrong webpage -- it is necessary to copy and paste the entire link including the part that spilled over into the next line )
Claim -- ID is scientifically vacuous and makes no worthwhile contribution to science.
Answer -- Even if ID is false, it nonetheless expands scientific knowledge, and the questions raised by ID could lead to important scientific discoveries. We should not place artificial boundaries on scientific inquiry.
Claim -- the concept of "exaptation" has completely refuted ID
Answer -- "Exaptation" is the concept that features that evolve for one function may be converted to serve another function and that hence many of the parts of irreducibly complex systems may have come ready-made or nearly so. However, exaptation does not change the fact that all of the parts of an irreducibly complex system must come together simultaneously in their final forms to create the complete system, and that is very unlikely. Also, a feature that is already serving an essential or important function may not be available to help form the irreducible system unless a duplicate is created.
Also, the scientific merits of ID are discussed in the Discovery Institute's book "Traipsing into Evolution" and online in "Dover in Review" by DI's John West.
Labels: Intelligent design