Reading the blogs at the Discovery Institute is always an educational experience. I’ve made it a point to regularly visit their “Evolution News & Views” blog. Evolution News & Views features a group of authors who support the notion of Intelligent Design (ID). It features op-eds and coverage of the latest happenings in the worlds of ID and evolution. Among its authors is Dr. Michael Egnor, who has been discussed on the Skeptics’ Guide mainly regarding his ongoing debate with Dr. Novella regarding dualism/materialism.
I consider it an educational experience because I am, as most of you can probably guess, not a proponent of the notion of ID. But I visit the blog to try to understand the “other side” of the debate. I go to read up on what their current best arguments are for ID, to study their tactics, and to occasionally play “Name That Logical Fallacy”.
This week, a post on the blog by Jonathan Wells endeavors to define Intelligent Design. It is a post adapted from his book, “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design“.
He defines Intelligent Design as the following:
Intelligent design maintains that it is possible to infer from empirical evidence that some features of the natural world are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than unguided natural processes. Since ID relies on evidence rather than on scripture or religious doctrines, it is not creationism or a form of religion.
I’ll be honest, when it comes to Intelligent Design, what I see is just a repackaged version of Creationism that attempts to keep the mention of religion or God out of the equation. So what is this “empirical evidence” that Wells describes? What empirical evidence suggests that Intelligent Design is a more viable notion than the theory of evolution?
When I do a quick search for the best lines of evidence for ID, all I come up with are counter-arguments to the theory of evolution such as irreducible complexity. It occurs to me that ID proponents are committing the logical fallacy of the false dichotomy here. If evolution is disproved, the only possible alternative is Intelligent Design.
Perhaps I’m not looking in the right places for the evidence for ID. Can anyone point me in the right direction?
ID does not deny the reality of variation and natural selection; it just denies that those phenomena can accomplish all that Darwinists claim they can accomplish.
“Darwinists” is what ID proponents call people who accept the theory of evolution, It’s basically a propaganda tactic that attempts to paint evolution theory proponents as dogmatic and inflexible in their “beliefs”.
Alright, so according to ID proponents, I’m a Darwinist. I’m also a Newtonist, an Einsteinist, a Keplerist, and the list goes on.
Finally, Wells writes:
ID does not maintain that all species were created in their present form; indeed, some ID advocates have no quarrel with the idea that all living things are descended from a common ancestor. ID challenges only the sufficiency of unguided natural processes and the Darwinian claim that design in living things is an illusion rather than a reality.
Again, the same false dichotomy rears its ugly head. ID challenges evolution, if evolution is proven wrong, ID wins. But it seems that not everything is designed as intelligently as ID proponents would argue. Take the eye for example. I’ll refer you to a couple of excellent posts on Steve’s NeuroLogica Blog regarding the seemingly haphazard way that the eye is “designed”. Here, and here.
ID proponents have argued that ID is a scientific theory. To me, ID is simply Creationism wearing a shitty halloween costume. In order for it to be a viable scientific theory, it has to at least be testable and falsifiable. How can we test and falsify an all-powerful designer?