Intelligent Design – Con


Sophie Picone, Editor

Intelligent Design (ID) — the set of beliefs that life is too complex to be explained by scientific theory and must have been created by an intelligent cause — is not a scientific theory. Scratch the surface: where you find the remote possibility that life on earth was influenced by aliens, you will also find creationism, which relies on faith in the supernatural. This idea should not be taught in schools, except to perhaps mention that it exists, and to point out its tactics: a the disregard of the scientific method, reliance on abstract philosophical arguments and origins in fatih.
ID states that life as we know it is too complex to have arisen naturally. This is at odds with the core principle of science, which relies on observation and data to disabuse us of our wild imaginations and carry us into understanding. If complexity itself stands in the way of understanding, we may as well be in the Middle Ages, when disease was “caused” by evil spirits. The things we don’t yet understand must propel us towards discovery instead of towards throwing in the intellectual towel.
Take genetics as an example. For perhaps 300,000 years, we knew nothing. Animal husbandry and plant hybridization gave us clues, but from Gregor Mendel (1865) to Watson and Crick (1953) to the Human Genome Project (2003) to CRISPR gene editing (2012) we’re learning quickly. We have spent only 0.05% of our time on earth with any understanding of a molecule that is key to our understanding of evolution. We are far from hitting the wall of understanding the complexity of this molecule or other “irreducibly complex” ones. Science demands proof, but progress requires patience.
ID is not a theory but an attack on a theory. Science is argumentative, controversial, and thrives on debate. But instead of presenting new evidence, ID arises from questioning evidence, or making abstract philosophical arguments about the nature of the human mind or the origins of the universe. At the first mention of the supernatural, we’re no longer talking about science. There is no testable “theory” in “theology.”
In fact, the language of ID was only created after the separation of church and state in education. After the US Supreme Court decided that creationism could not be taught in schools, the material was “sterilized” by removing specific references to Judeo-Christian teachings in favor of a more vague method that still said the same thing. The remake is basically the same as the original, however, and the motives behind it are easy to see.
At the same time, it is important to remember that evolution is not an offshoot of atheism: the vast majority of great scientific minds have accepted religion and their work can co-exist within its teachings—as long as they remain grounded in the scientific method and open to peer review. In fact, no aspect of ID has ever been tested in a repeatable experiment.
Simply stated, there is no evidence to back the idea of Intelligent Design.
No one can prove that ghosts are not real. How much time should we spend teaching that they might exist?