INTELLEGENT DESIGN CONTINUED
From all this, we can conclude that intelligent design is real. It is not the product
presupposition, but the only reasonable conclusion from the evidence. Those who persecute
the supporters of ID would do well to consider the facts. But then again, most of
them approach the question already predisposed toward materialism and the assumption
that only ?natural? explanations are to be accepted as valid. No wonder that people
who assume the answer (only random, ?natural? explanations are allowed) before
looking at the data reach this conclusion. Intelligent design is the only reasonable answer
to the question WHY as it is applied to the physical world.
SHOULD INTELLIGENT DESIGN BE PRESCRIBED IN PUBLIC SCHOOL CURRICULA?
As stated in the introduction, the question of whether intelligent design is
correct is not the only important one we should ask. Just because something is
true does not automatically mean it needs to be included as curriculum in science
classes. Scientific theories which are consistent with experimental evidence are what
should be discussed in science classes. Many assume that the validity of intelligent
design automatically means that it must be taught as a scientific theory. We must
look at this assumption carefully.
First, let us consider what makes for a good scientific theory. When scientists create
theories, their goal is not to discover ?the truth.? In fact, scientists are not in
the business of discovering the truth. When the partisans of evolution declare that
?evolution is a fact,? they are either ignorant about how science is supposed
to work, or they are manipulating their hearers. Rather, the goal of science is to
find an explanation which is consistent with the experimental evidence. An acceptable
theory is one which is at least as consistent with the evidence as rival theories.
There are two requirements for a theory to work in science.
1. The theory must be testable by experiment.
2. The theory must be falsifiable.
What does it mean for a theory or hypothesis to be falsifiable? It means that it must be
possible to refute the theory by some experiment. An irrefutable hypothesis is not a scientific
This is where the theory of intelligent design runs into trouble for scientists?
even those who believe in design such as myself. There is no experiment one can even
conceive of which can test the design hypothesis. What could one do in a laboratory to
test whether a system was designed? Intelligent design ?researchers? do not do experiments.
The question one must ask is not whether the universe shows evidence of design,
but whether it can be positively proved by experiment.
The intelligent design idea fails the second test of a scientific theory as
well. Not only is there no experiment which can be done to test the theory, there
is no conceivable way to disprove design. Design is a paradigm, but it is not a scientific
paradigm. Perhaps it is a theological paradigm. Perhaps it is a philosophical paradigm. Bottom line,
creation is a supernatural event which does not lend itself to reproducible
experiment. Science does not, nor can it preclude the supernatural. It just does not know how to deal
If it is true that nature was designed?that the evidence is consistent with
the anthropic principle?and it is also true that this has profound implications
for how we view the physical world, what are scientists to do with this dilemma?
Should they pretend that they do not know what they know? Evolution is a theory,
but intelligent design is a fact.
I am a professor who has taught physics and chemistry for over twenty years. I hav
e taught everything from biochemistry to organic to physical chemistry to calculus-based
physics. There is hardly a course I have taught in which I do not have the opportunity
to point out the evidence for design. I do so freely in my classes and have for many
years. However, when I consider where I would put intelligent design into my curriculum,
the answer is nowhere. I cannot think of any experiments we could do. Which course would
I put the design theory in? Chemistry? Biology?
I do teach a class where intelligent design definitely does belong. I teach
?a class on the history and philosophy of science. In this class, we do a chapter on
science and religion. We cover the anthropic principle, we discuss the evidence for
design, we mention that science came about as a result of believers in a monotheistic
God looking for order in the universe. Intelligent design definitely belongs in a class
on the philosophy of science. It probably would be appropriate in a philosophy class
or a theology class, but I struggle to see where it belongs in a science class.
Bottom line, intelligent design is not a scientific theory. It is truth. It is a beautiful
organizational paradigm which explains the underlying ?why? of the physical
world, but it is not science. It definitely deserves a place on the lips of every science
teacher, but should a unit on design be a required part of public school science
classes? I say no.
What about evolution? Is the theory of evolution from Satan? Is it a conspiracy promoted by
demons? No. Evolution is a model which fits the proper criteria as a scientific theory.
Contrary to the polemical cries of some, evolution is not a fact. There are many
unresolved ?problems? with the claim that all life on the earth evolved by random
forces from a single original randomly created life form four billion years
ago. Nevertheless, evolution is a powerful scientific theory. It can be successfully
used to explain much of what we know from genetics. It can and has been tested by experiment.
?Mutation and natural selection has been shown in the laboratory to work for
very simple life forms such as bacteria. Evolution is not a fact. Design is. However, evolution
is a good scientific theory and design is not.
I for one deeply respect those who have been at the forefront of the ID movement. M
ichael Behe, Hugh Ross and many others have braved the undeserved wrath and
even hatred of a small but extremely vocal part of the scientific community. Many have
been fired from university positions and been blacklisted for simply stating
the obvious: the universe is the product of a very powerful and intelligent designer. Such
?behavior is reprehensible. I believe, however, that efforts to ?prove? design scientifically
are doomed to failure, although I respect those who make the effort. I believe that
believer?s energy should not be turned to forcing design into high school curricula.
?Rather we should take the opportunity, through science, to show to any who
will consider, that ?The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim
the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night the
display knowledge.? (Psalms 19:1-2)
Apologetics Research Society Newsletter
Jan Oakes 10747 Cariuto Ct. San Diego, CA 92124