Wednesday, December 21, 2005

How Intelligent Design Works

HowStuffWorks discusses without any bias the concept of Intelligent Design. A few interesting snippets from the article. The main grouse that the scientific community supporting natural selection has against the proponents of intelligent design is that much of intelligent design is proof by elimination. That means, at the risk of being too simplistic (but then you can read the article), if a certain process cannot be explained by current science there is intelligent design behind the process. I wonder what the world would have looked like had we explained everything by intelligent design. We would be inhabiting the jungles and I guess I wouldn't have been blogging this from home!

Intelligent design (ID) states that the universe and its inhabitants could not have evolved by the "blind chance" set forth in Darwinism. Its arguments are mostly concerned with what it considers to be holes in the theory of evolution, and it claims that these holes scientifically prove the presence of an "intelligent designer" in nature.

Unlike creationism, ID does not state that God is the intelligent designer. It only says that there is clear evidence in nature of intelligent design. The designer in ID could be God, but it could also be an extraterrestrial race or some other supernatural force. Also, ID does not draw its arguments directly from the Christian Bible.

The scientific community sees this argument as inherently flawed. It points out that Dembski sets forth a negative hypothesis: Anything not created by chance or law must be designed. But scientists claim that chance, law and design are not mutually exclusive, and they are not the only possibilities. So the process of elimination cannot be applied. And in any event, they say, science does not accept the process of elimination as proof of anything. The scientific method requires a positive hypotheses -- you cannot prove one thing simply by disproving another.

There are also widespread claims that the majority of the Discovery Institute's funding comes from Christian fundamentalist organizations and individuals, noting especially the millions of dollars donated by philanthropist Howard Ahmanson, an evangelical Christian, and hundreds of thousands of dollars provided by the Maclellan Foundation, which seeks to "serve strategic international and national organizations committed to furthering the Kingdom of Christ ... by providing financial and leadership resources to extend the Kingdom of God to every tribe, nation, people, and tongue"

Anyway, I was quite happy to read about this court ruling.

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