An Intelligent Challenge for Intelligent Design

In one word: Prove it.

Both fascinatingly and worryingly, there is an increasing discourse about the notion of ‘Intelligent Design’ (ID).

Rather, and allow me to clarify that previous statement, quote bait for ID proponents, there is an increasing discourse about Intelligent Design within the framework of science and education, notably with very mainstream and manipulative events.

Nobody in the science community will try and force someone not to believe in Intelligent Design, the notion of a higher purpose in the universe. Nobody will say a word about how the parents tries to educate indoctrinate their child within the realm of their home and/or church (although perhaps they should).

The problem with the modern ID push, and indeed, its reason to be, is that it is trying to wedge the discourse into education all over the world.

In a nutshell, Intelligent Design is an idea which claims that since science is inadequate to respond to very ominous and big Questions about existence, then there surely must be an intelligent designer to fill in the gaps.

Do not expect, of course, ID to present a shred of evidence to back up their claim, other than bringing up apparent ‘holes’ in the scientific theories of today and claiming that they must be filled with Intelligence of a higher order, since naturalism apparently cannot fill them.

The Intelligent Design Network maintains it believes in objectivity in science (an otherwise absolutely noble belief which I fervently subscribe to) yet it also believes in the promotion of ‘scientific evidence of intelligent design’ in order to achieve scientific neutrality. Of course, this leaves the fact that their ‘interpretation’ of the 0 point in the axes of neutrality rest firmly on their side of the 0. Not to mention that the scientific evidence of intelligent design has yet to materialise.

So far, the only points intelligent design has going for it is that it makes patently false statements about modern science and takes them as cues to introduce the Great Watchmaker. It also relies on including a great many quotes from scientists who profess belief, forgetting on the way that a quote from a scientist does not constitute any more evidence of the intelligent designer than a quote from a fashion artist.

Outlining the misconceptions of science Intelligent Design makes is a task that has been done to exhaustion yet the relentless religious fervour with which ID proponents follow their prey (i.e. post-Stone Age civilisation) begs that this task be done even more.

As I said at the beginning, nobody is trying to convince you otherwise if you believe there is a superior intelligence out there setting physical constants or even taking interest in terrestrial affairs.

Yet, in the full knowledge that the hallmark of a solid scientific theory is its ability to predict the future in light of current evidence, it’s hard not to conclude that Intelligent Design is a load of hot air. Indeed, to its credit, an interpretation of ID, namely “There is a Higher Intelligence/God/Allah/FSM and He did it” is quite apt at predicting the future and explaining the past in a lazy, convoluted and intellectually manipulative way, especially considering that the required evidence for ID to hold water is nowhere to be found.

So, in the tried and true model of challenging budding scientific theories (and otherwise, as in this case), there is but one simple requirement for ID to present in order for it to begin to hold water as a scientific and eventually educational theory:

Evidence.

Challenge: Bring me evidence, found on its own merit i.e. not child’s play ‘evidence’ of the kind: “Darwin recanted on his deathbed!”, “There are such a thing as transcendental numbers!”, “Quantum mechanics scares me so it must be God!”, “The eye is too complex to have evolved!”, etc. but more like what bubble trails are to particle physics kind of thing.

Response, if successful: I will videotape myself eating a popular edition (unabridged!) of the Origin of Species and post it to Youtube. That’s right, tearing off each individual page and ingesting The Origin of Species.

Good hunting.

P.S. Clarification: Holes in modern scientific theories do not automatically validate your own – at best, they eventually strengthen the modern science theory in question. Logic arguments do not constitute evidence. Biblical prophecies do not constitute evidence. Find me a genuine fossil of a dinosaur, dated with modern scientific methods to 6000 years ago which is used to sustain a peer-reviewed and accepted paper on ID and I shall recant.

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3 Responses

  1. Now I’m sure the question on everyone’s mind is: with or without ketchup?

    But seriously, great post. Arguing against ID often feels like fighting the Lernaean Hydra, for every head you smash two take its place. But if this isn’t a fight worth fighting, I don’t know what is.

  2. ID is really a sweet idea. It’s all fluffy and wraps up everything really neatly so that the believer no longer has to wonder or think about all those nasty difficult questions. Nope, “A Creator made it this way” is clearly the bestest and shiniest answer to everything. No ifs, no buts.

  3. Another dig on ID…

    Scientists recently created RNA strands that were able to replicate themselves without any other genetic or protein component.

    They also observed mutation within the strands and competition within various groups of strands.

    Snap.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090109173205.htm

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