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You can’t say Intelligent Design is not Science Just Because it is So Obvious

My favorite Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed trailer hit youtube. I had wanted to post it before but I had to link to the Expelled movie site. Here it is:

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In one of my recent posts I challenged Skeptics to be skeptical of everything. I would include the prospect that their anti-intelligent design bent is just a Dawkinian ‘meme.’ If they had been born at any other time at any other place, even they would have conceded that the marks of intelligent design were all around them- in the cosmos and in biology. Furthermore, if it is the case that this particular meme was transmitted by the ‘natural selection/repression’ of those hostile to the ID meme, then perhaps their confident assertions that there is ‘no evidence’ for ID and that ID is flatly unscientific (so says some scientists, anyway) is not an actual truth, but merely the particular meme that was allowed to survive.

It is this latter point that Stein’s Expelled will help. For years evolutionists scoffed at the notion that there was any suppression going on and if you ever raised examples they’d smirk and (avoiding the evidence) chalk it up to more cretinist conspiracy-mongering about those ‘evilutionists.’ It is not conspiracy-mongering. It is a demonstrable pattern. It would be hard to make a movie if it wasn’t.

Resistance to Intelligent Design is clearly attached to the concern that it is just a Creationist front or more generally, a possible set of arguments for the existence of God. So what if it were? The inference to design is not ad hoc and arbitrary. We detect design all the time. We believe that it is real and humans engage in it all the time. It shouldn’t be rejected as out of bounds to science just because it so happens that a two year old can reliably detect design.

If it is maintained that the design observed in biological systems is much more profound than what is witnessed in a toddler’s tricycle and you’re concerned that such an inference strongly suggests the existence of a more powerful designer than humans- and you don’t like that possibility- too bad! That’s not a good reason to reject something. That only proves that you’ve got an agenda, part of which no doubt is to pretend like you have rational reasons for rejecting theism and another part of which is to try to reduce those who make the inference to Fundamentalists (and so comfort yourself that at least you’re smarter than them).

We must come to grips with the fact that there are many within this debate that simply need to be written off. They are entrenched into their world view and won’t be budged. The way to dislodge them is through the democratic process. People interested in simple fair play, and especially those who believe our educational and research institutions should be accessible to the free competition of ideas, will need to put their foots down and insist that the Darwinian Inquisition be stopped.

If ID is permitted free and fair expression but Darwinian ideology proves to be superior on its merits then hoorah for Darwinism. But no one is impressed when your merit is proved because you kept rivals out of the game by careful rule changes that ensure that you never face competition. With Stein’s movie in mind most people will see that this is exactly what has happened. If we press the point watch what will happen: detractors will agree that the pattern exists, but it was justified, because after all, we all know that God must be kept out of science… even if the evidence favors it.

We don’t have to share the inference and we citizens don’t have to fund those who insist on that belief. If it all just reduces to memes and the memes that win… well, may the best meme win… but let’s let all the memes on the table with equal access to government money for research and employment, eh?

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3 comments

    • Spencer on April 17, 2008 at 11:30 am

    Here’s a few things you need to know about Stein’s movie.

    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=six-things-ben-stein-doesnt-want-you-to-know

    “The inference to design is not ad hoc and arbitrary. We detect design all the time. We believe that it is real and humans engage in it all the time. It shouldn’t be rejected as out of bounds to science just because it so happens that a two year old can reliably detect design.”

    Fallacious. The design we “detect all the time” are KNOWN human artifacts. We know that computers are designed things because we know the people who build them. Hence we infer design via experience and prior knowledge of designers. The same can’t be said of biology and God.

    • Spencer on April 17, 2008 at 11:43 am

    “If it is maintained that the design observed in biological systems is much more profound than what is witnessed in a toddler’s tricycle and you’re concerned that such an inference strongly suggests the existence of a more powerful designer than humans- and you don’t like that possibility- too bad! That’s not a good reason to reject something. That only proves that you’ve got an agenda, part of which no doubt is to pretend like you have rational reasons for rejecting theism and another part of which is to try to reduce those who make the inference to Fundamentalists (and so comfort yourself that at least you’re smarter than them).”

    First, I don’t know any of non-ID person who thinks the “design” found in biological systems are more profound than what is witnessed in a toddler’s tricycle, for the simple reason that the “design” in biological systems haven’t been demonstrated.

    Second, there are PLENTY of rational reasons to reject theism. (Lack of evidence, Argument from evil, Argument from non-belief, Incoherency arguments, my ‘divine inference’ argument, arguments against immaterial souls, etc). Can you ever admit that those who reject theism reject theism for RATIONAL reasons? Or is this scenario not possible?

    • Spencer on April 17, 2008 at 11:48 am

    “That only proves that you’ve got an agenda, part of which no doubt is to pretend like you have rational reasons for rejecting theism and another part of which is to try to reduce those who make the inference to Fundamentalists (and so comfort yourself that at least you’re smarter than them)”

    Moreover, this assumes than anyone who reject ID is an atheist, or advocates atheism, which is false. Do Ken Miller and Francisco Ayala, both strong proponents of evolution, have it out against theism? Or is it possible that they reject ID BECAUSE they genuinely think it’s scientific nonsense?

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