Letter to the editor – It’s unintelligent design
Writer: Tim Makinson
April 26, 2006
Filed under Uncategorized
Editor, The Channels:
The Channels’ recent “point/counterpoint” opinion piece, “Intelligent design, theory or theology?” misrepresents intelligent design’s scientific standing on a number of points.
Claiming that it is not religious contradicts one of its leading advocates, William Dembski, who admitted that it, “is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory,” or, scientific form disguising religious substance.
Postulating that an alien or any other natural “designer” for life on Earth merely begs the question of where the alien designer came from. For consistency, intelligent design must also claim that this designer is likewise too complex to have spontaneously evolved, leaving a supernatural designer as the only viable ultimate implication of intelligent design.
The Cornell seminar is on the history of evolution and particularly of controversies over its implications, rather than intelligent design per se. Its reading list includes such notable evolutionists as Richard Dawkins and Charles Darwin himself, in addition to intelligent design advocates.
Far from meeting any scientific definition of a theory, intelligent design neither predicts what, when, how or by whom its postulated design occurs. Then it attempts to argue for this clearly vacuous position by using a classic logical fallacy, an argumentum ad ignorantiam, or, argument from ignorance. It is thus a “theory” empty of content, logic, intellectual honesty or scientific curiosity.
It opens up neither practical uses, nor avenues for new research. It is an arid, dead end.
For these reasons, intelligent design has been rejected by the vast majority of the scientific community, not because of a “strawman” of experimental testing.
None of the historic sciences, which include such fields as astrophysics and geology, are amenable to experimental testing. Can you imagine trying to fit a black hole or tectonic plates into a science lab?
Having been emphatically rejected by the scientific community, intelligent design survives solely as a political movement, feeding on the religious prejudices and scientific ignorance of the general public – the exact reverse of the column’s claim.