On The Theory of Intelligent Design
“Intelligent design is the theory that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection”. The proponents continue, “Intelligent design is a scientific theory that stands in equal footing with, or is superior to, current scientific theories regarding the evolution and origin of life”.
– Wikipedia Encyclopedia
My first impression of the recent court battles to decide whether to present Intelligent Design (ID) as a scientific theory, was suspicion. To me, they appeared to assume too much by suggesting that when “something exhibits specific complexity (is both complex and specific simultaneously), that one can infer it was produced by an intelligent cause.” They go on to use the patterns of molecular sequences exhibited by DNA as the way details of living things can be characterized according to this theory.
Although I never really understood many of the nuances of the theory of Evolution, I have always trusted the scientific method as the basis for scientific fact. I never felt that my trust was a leap of faith in the religious sense, but a knowledge that was obtained starting from a point of non-knowledge and built upon impartial observation and independent reproducibility of events. I have always respected that approach and tried to adhere to it in any of my searches for knowledge.
ID assumes that complex organisms can’t just develop through the process of natural selection, that they must have been initiated by some perhaps unknowable intelligent being that initiated it and still directs it. Every fiber in me reacts to the “they must have been” as being quite a jump. It runs counter to everything science stands for, in my opinion.
On the other hand, natural selection doesn’t attempt to dispute the existence of an intelligent initiator. It simply describes a process by which organisms become more complex, and tries to understand why that process has taken the course it has. There are many disagreements among Evolutionists about specifics, and that is the way science should be, until more facts reveal more information, and raise more questions than provide answers or “must have beens”.
My impression of ID is that it is an attempt by its proponents to open the door for religious theology to claim creationism as a scientific theory and present its “must have beens” on the the same level as scientific theory and proven fact. I have no problem with teaching ID in the school system but not alongside Science. It belongs in a theology course, alongside religion and philosophy.