Apr 09 2008

Intelligent Design Is Not Science

There – I said it. The meme lives.

In response to my blog post about Intelligent Design (ID), Jason Rosenhouse, who writes the excellent Evolution Blog, wrote an entry taking exception to the fact that I wrote that the primary scientific criticism of ID is that it is not science. He acknowledges that this claim is true – ID is not science – but he is concerned about framing the criticism of ID in this manner because it allows ID defenders to say that we are unfairly “expelling” ID from science. Rather he thinks we should focus on the specific claims of ID (irreducible complexity, etc) and explain scientifically why they are not valid. Below in my response which I posted in his comments.

Jason – Thanks for reviewing my blog post, but I must respectfully disagree with you. The fact that ID is not falsifiable and therefore not science is the primary scientific criticism of ID. All of the things you mentioned are also proper criticisms, but I think they are trumped by the fact that ID is not even science. Nowhere did I state that ID being not science should end the criticism.

Also – when ID proponents try to defend themselves on the very points you mention, they invariably wiggle out of criticism by creeping their position over to one that is not falsifiable. In the end, they always end up outside the arena of science defending an unfalsifiable version of ID. So your position is also a bit of a false dichotomy since – the points you mention and the unfalsifiable nature of ID are related in the way that I stated.

Further, I agree that we have to be mindful of how we state the case for evolution and against ID so as not to be easily exploited. However – the fact the ID is not science is not a point we should gloss over. It is an incredibly important point – we should fight over it and win. Keep in mind that ID was created for the very purpose of expanding the definition of science – this is actually THE fight. Everything else – while legitimate and important – is actually a distraction. Don’t get distracted.

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