Why Intelligent Design Isn’t

James Q. Wilson has an excellent piece that explains why ID isn’t science:

People use “theory” when they mean a guess, a faith or an idea. A theory in this sense does not state a testable relationship between two or more things. It is a belief that may be true, but its truth cannot be tested by scientific inquiry. One such theory is that God exists and intervenes in human life in ways that affect the outcome of human life. God may well exist, and He may well help people overcome problems or even (if we believe certain athletes) determine the outcome of a game. But that theory cannot be tested. There is no way anyone has found that we can prove empirically that God exists or that His action has affected some human life. If such a test could be found, the scientist who executed it would overnight become a hero.

I understand how Christians can feel marginalized and persecuted in today’s politically correct world – but an insistance on teaching ID most certainly doesn’t help. Intelligent Design doesn’t belong in a science class because it isn’t testible. You can’t make God appear in a beaker, but you can observe changes through the fossil record. The arguments about “irriducable complexity” being proof of a grand Designer also fail to be persuasive. There are many things we don’t know about how things like the eye developed, but we have enough clues to piece the story together. A gap in a theory is not proof of a Creator.

Science cannot, nor should it, try and argue in favor or agaist the existence of the Almighty. Science can tell us that fifteen billion or so years ago the Universe popped into existence from some priomordial and unknowable state – but it can never answer the question as to why. Science can tell us that a spacecraft thrusting at this velocity and this bearing will hit the orbit of this planet at this time, but they can’t answer the questions of the soul. Science and religion are only in conflict when one steps on the shoes of the other – when the zealous believer challenges scientific theory or the arrogant theorist argues that only a fool would believe in God. Both are arguing points based on the unknowable and neither is a sound argument.

ID most assuredly is a religious, not a scientific belief, and therefore isn’t something that should be taught in high school science courses. But theologically, which argument best illustrates the majesty of God – a diety who constantly tinkers with His creation, or a diety with the omniscience to create everything in one single thought? The ID argument always struck me as a theologically unsound principle, an argument that tries to put the Creator on a more understandable level – and there’s just a certain amount of hubris in that. It’s one thing to see God in the small miracles of life – it’s quite another to constantly demand His presence in everything.

3 thoughts on “Why Intelligent Design Isn’t

  1. Neither evolution nor creation can be tested scientifically. Both are religious. I believe in the beginning God. Evolutionists believe in the beginning dirt. I don’t know where God came from. Evolutionists don’t know were the dirt came from. Evolution is the religion of those who don’t want an all knowing all powerfull God to have authority over them.

  2. Absolutely wrong, Ty. Evolution is a scientific, testable, proven model that accurately explains the origin of life on Earth. The reason that evolution is supported by the entire community of biologists, and creation stories are rejected, is because evolution makes predictions that have been tested and verified, and creationism does not. Quite the reverse – creationism as a model makes predictions that have never been true, and are often the opposite of what we do see.

    Jay is wrong, too, to suggest that eye evolution is some kind of scientific mystery. The evolution of the eye is both well-understood and well-supported in both the fossil record and the arrangement of living forms today.

    There are only three kinds of people that can knowingly reject evolution in the light of the evidence for it – the stupid, the insane, and the dishonest. There’s no credible scientific challenge to evolution whatsoever.

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