Intelligent Design as Science?!?

OK. I am going to say this very slowly for you I.D. folks or those swayed by the “teach the controversy” argument. I am going to give several examples. Please read them slowly and completely. Read them twice.

The following is an example of science:

What Person ‘A’ does: Looks around at the complexity and diversity of life in our world in wonder and contemplates how that diversity came to be.

Person ‘A’ says: “I have been thinking that maybe life as we know it evolved from a common ancestor through small changes over long periods of time. If this were true, I would PREDICT that many species would have similar features.”

What Person ‘A’ does: They go out and analyze evidence as best they can with the tools available to them

Person ‘A’ says: “I have OBSERVED that, indeed, many features are shared amongst species (i.e. bats, whales, dogs and humans (and more) all have appendages with five slender, articulated sets of bones [fingers]). I have further observed that nearly identical species have subtle variations that seem to be advantageous to their specific environment. I do not have the tools to determine that age of my fossils but, because my observations seemed to match my predictions, I have a certain level of confidence that my original idea is accurate and I offer this as a THEORY. I offer this theory for the scientific community to analyze and criticize in the hopes that some new insights might be gained or that my errors may be identified.”

[Much time passes and new technologies are developed]

What Person ‘B’ does: Through archeology and efforts not available to Person ‘A’, many, many more fossils are exposed from deeper and deeper layers of earth. These are analyzed and compared to the predictions originally made.

Person ‘B’ says: “I (and others) have found many more fossils that match the predictions originally made by Person ‘A’. The ability of a theory to predict results or future findings is a good indication that the original theory is, at least, reasonably close to the way things really are. I have a greater level of confidence that the theory is accurate.”

[Much more time passes and more new technologies are developed]

What Person ‘C’ does: Uses several new techniques that can accurately determine the age of ancient relics and fossils using radioactive decay.

Person ‘C’ says: “I have determined with this new, proven technology (which has already gone through scientific vetting as we are discussing) has determined that the age of some of these deeper fossils are indeed millions of years old. This gives an accurate time frame previously unknown to Persons ‘A’ and ‘B’ and is consistent with Person ‘A’s idea that changes occurred over vast periods of time. I have a yet greater level of confidence that the original theory is close to reality.”

[More time passes and new technologies arise]

What Person ‘D’ does: Uses the newfound tool of DNA analysis to compare differences amongst species.

Person ‘D’ says: “I have used the stunningly accurate new tool of DNA analysis to compare variations amongst species. This tool was unimagined by Person ‘A’. If the original theory was correct, then we should see nearly identical DNA in closely related species (i.e. higher primates and humans) and much greater differences in more primitive life forms (i.e. starfish and humans). This tool has demonstrated that very clearly and has even allowed us to correct some errors we have made to date. I have an extremely high level of confidence that the theory of Evolution Through Natural Selection is a stunningly accurate description of how the DIVERSITY of life (including human-kind) as we know it came to be. The likelihood that all the predictions that naturally stemmed from the original theory could erroneously be made is virtually impossible. We have used many different, unrelated technologies to arrive at this conclusion. We have few other theories in science that can be considered (as Evolution is now), virtually undeniable fact.”

The following is NOT an example of science:

What Person ‘X’ does: Looks around at the complexity and diversity of life in our world in wonder and contemplates how that diversity came to be.

Person ‘X’ says: “I do not understand the complexity and diversity of life in our world. Therefore some intelligent designer outside of our ability to understand and test was probably involved.”

Now that you have read (and re-read) the examples of science and ‘non-science’, can you honestly say that ID should be in the science classroom? . . . not the philosophy classroom, but the SCIENCE classroom? There is NOTHING about ID that that has ANY relation to the scientific method. If there is a controversy to be taught, it is the motives of the Intelligent Design proponents and their vigor in trying to get it taught as science.


mark said...

Hello Mike,

A final post was added by moi at the Daily Emerald thread of recent days.
In leaving all of that behind me, I just wanted to wish you a personal good-bye.
Although we differ in our points of view, my belief is that you will one day dispense with certain inconsistencies which need not be mentioned here. If that ends up with you being an atheist, so be it. I for one am of the point of view that if you sincerely require 'proof' of God's existence, then it is up to Him to provide that. And only He knows what kind of proof you need.
So, remain skeptical, and be passionate about it, my friend.

While I can't say I regret my strong-handed tactics - since I am so sick of being characterized as narrow-minded, for being a believer, as I was by the author in his first letter,- I do wish to say that I respect you as an individual.

Your gesture to reconciliation and the entirety of your blog here indicates a lot of sincerity. [I would hope for a bit more refinement regarding how your values, stated here, play out in reality. But enough is enough. ]

I wish you well, and nothing but the best in your future endeavors. Maybe one day we will have the opportunity to learn from each other, in the context of what I would like to describe as 'the pros and cons of Intelligent Design'.

The irony of all of this is that I actually approve of stem cell research, as things stand now. I need more information, but based on the 'evidence' and my own take on the spiritual ramifications, I'll probably end up in yours and the author's camp on this one.
Take note of that, and perhaps, try finding 'believers' who are willing to weigh their religious beliefs alongside physical evidence - instead of ignoring the latter in the name of religious suppositions. A lot of us do, really, and that might be the best way for people in your corner to move forward politically on this issue.

So take care, and my very best wishes.

FVThinker said...

You have given me the topic of my next essay. "The Milk Miracle". Check out my recent post on


mark said...

Hi Mike,

Just to let you know that I have gotten your post and will check it out in a day or two.