November 20, 2005

Intelligent Design - A Pox on Both Houses

Glenn Reynolds' recent linkagery and Michael Williams' criticism of Rev. Coyne's theology (Coyne being head of the Vatican Observatory) has led me back into the swamp of Intelligent Design.

In short, I think that ID is wrong. I think it's wrong as a matter of faith. I also think that the large majority of its detractors (Glenn Reynolds included but not Michael Williams) are doing science a disservice by replacing pseudo-science with a differing pseudo-science. The popular tack of saying that ID can't be tested will merely morph and refine ID down to irreducible complexity, something that can be tested. And then where are you? Back at square one with nothing accomplished but improving ID theory.

Now an improved ID theory that is testable would seem, to some, to better the current state of affairs but the problem is that it is not clear that the other side would accept that ID was testable under any circumstances. Several advocacy organizations have staked out the territory that ID can never be tested under any circumstances. This is pseudo-science because irreducible complexity self-evidently can be disproven for any particular system and thus, repeating across an entire creature's genome, you can demonstrate that a species does not require ID to have come into existence.

The scary part is that the reputable science organizations who should be saying a pox on both your houses to pseudo-science in whatever form it pops up in are simply not doing so. Oh, sure, individual scientists will concede in private that it's not helpful for false statements to be made on their own side but it's certainly not a flag they're going to stake their reputations on.

This leaves us in a very bad state.

Posted by TMLutas at November 20, 2005 04:41 PM