3/23/05

More on why Intelligent Design is Neither


From washingtonpost.com's
"Who's Afraid of Intelligent Design?"

HERE




Here's an important moment in the article:


"Drop in on an average biology class and you will find the same slow,
deadening march of memorization that I endured at 15. Why not enliven
this with a student debate on contrasting theories? Why not have an
intelligent design advocate stop by to be interrogated? Many students,
like me, find it hard to understand evolutionary theory, and the
scientific method itself, until they are illuminated by contrasting
points of view."



There's nothing wrong with enlivening science. And there's nothing
wrong with questioning premises and scrutinizing hypotheses. But the
alternative should be plausible on the same grounds as the
theory/hypotheses under question, no?


ID postulates a leap to an explanation. The very nature of the leap is
unverifiable and unfalsifiable. It cannot be made consistent with the
*type of scientific reasoning it would purport to support.* Its
introduction as a possible explanation really does damage the general
understanding of how science makes an explanation plausible.


Is it wrong to compare evolution and creationism as creation stories? No,
but they must be seen as myths or stories and the purposes of that
comparison must be made clear and distinct from the comparison of,
say, two scientific theories.


If we can't keep these kinds of comparisons distinct, then what shall
prevent the scientist from trumping the ID theorist by saying,


"Sure, we can say that evolution came from an Intelligent Designer.
But that Designer came from a lifeless and senseless cloud of ancient,
cosmic gas. How does intelligence arise from non-intelligence? Well,
it's what we call Magic Chance. Oh, you want evidence of this? Sorry,
it's the only possible story which can account for Intelligent
Designers."


And off we go.


We need better teachers. We need students who feel secure in their
spirituality while also equipped to confront the scientific challenges
threatening this planet. But we don't need to undermine the empirical
and experimental bases of science in the process.


And that's why we don't compare evolutionary theory with creationist
stories and call them both "possible."