Claim: Science is the study of nature on nature’s own terms, and thus cannot study the supernatural. The absence of a transcendent supernatural deity is completely untestable on an empirically scientific level. A transcendent intelligent agency is not empirically testable because the transcendent intelligent agent is not natural.
Design can be tested using scientific logic. How? Upon the logic of mutual exclusion, design and non-design are mutually exclusive (it was one or the other) so we can use eliminative logic: if non-design is highly improbable, then the design is highly probable. Thus, the evidence against non-design (against the production of a feature by the undirected natural process) is evidence for design. And vice versa. The evaluative status of non-design (and thus design) can be decreased or increased by observable empirical evidence, so a theory of design is empirically responsive and is testable. Based on a logical evaluation of evidence, we can conclude that design theory is probably true (if all non-design theories seem highly implausible) or is probably false (if any non-design theory seems highly plausible). A design inference does not claim non-design is impossible and design is certain, it only claims that design seems more probable based on scientific evidence and logic. This type of probability-based conclusion is consistent with the logic of science in which proof is always impossible, even though scientists can develop a logically justified confidence in the truth or falsity of a theory.
A number of evolutionary propagandists have claimed that creation is not scientific because it is supposedly untestable. But in the same paragraph, they will claim, ‘scientists have carefully examined the claims of creation science, and found that ideas such as the young Earth and global Flood are incompatible with the evidence.’ But obviously creation cannot have been examined (tested) and found to be false if it’s ‘untestable’! 3
The scientific methods used in a design investigation are also used in historical sciences like geology, archaeology, evolutionary biology, and astronomy. Many arguments against design are also arguments against every historical science. But scientists have developed methods for coping with the limitations of historical data, and historical science can be authentically scientific.
Intelligent Design proposes the idea that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by the deliberate creative act of an intelligent cause.
One of the most common charges that intelligent design (ID) opponents, Advocates of methodological naturalism, is that the theory of intelligent design is inherently unscientific. that ID is not real science. They will say that a real scientific theory must be testable against the empirical world, must make predictions, must be falsifiable, must be explanatory by reference to natural law, and so forth. They point to ID and say that it doesn’t meet all of these criteria, and therefore ID must not be science. But is that true? Are there really criteria that define whether something is science or not science? Well, if you ask philosophers of science (the academic experts on this question), they will tell you that no such criteria exists. Every attempt at formulating an ironclad set of criteria has ended up accidentally excluding what scientists consider to be legitimate scientific fields. There is no set of agreed-upon criteria for separating science from pseudo-science; it just doesn’t exist among philosophers of science. The question of whether something is science or non-science is both intractable and uninteresting. The real issue is not whether a theory is ‘scientific’ according to some abstract definition, but where the scientific evidence leads to, and how it is best explained. In other words, what mechanism explains best X. This procedure is obvious, but the attempt at demarcating between science and non-science is a favorite way and artifact of ID opponents. By calling ID non-scientific, they never to examine if the proposed causal mechanism is more compelling than theirs.
Intelligent design is not science, and cannot be tested.
The main tenet relies on the claim that events that occurred in the past cannot be directly verified. Philosophers of science draw a distinction between
1. research directed towards identifying laws
2. research which seeks to determine how particular historical events occurred
These are indeed two different questions.
Archeology: Is that rock formation natural or due to intelligent design?
Anthropology: Do sharp, pointed rocks occur naturally or are they designed by intelligent beings?
Forensics: Intelligent cause of death or natural circumstances?
SETI: Are those radio signals natural or caused by intelligent beings?
Just before Thanksgiving a friend e-mailed me because his daughter was about to give a presentation on whether intelligent design is science. She was looking for resources on the topic to read over the holiday. Thanksgiving is now behind us, but this reading list should still be useful to readers interested in the question of ID as science. Here's an updated and expanded version of my reply:
First, I can outline how we know ID is science. We know ID is science because it uses the scientific method to make its claims.
The scientific method is commonly described as a four-step process involvingobservations, hypothesis, experiments, and conclusion. ID begins with theobservation that intelligent agents produce complex and specified information (CSI). Design theorists hypothesize that if a natural object was designed, it will contain high levels of CSI. Scientists then performexperimental tests upon natural objects to determine if they contain complex and specified information. One easily testable form of CSI is irreducible complexity, which can be tested and discovered by experimentally reverse-engineering biological structures through genetic knockout experiments. The purpose is to determine if they require all of their parts to function. When experimental researchers uncover irreducible complexity in biology, theyconclude that such structures were designed. For some nice, easy articles that further discuss why ID is science, please see any of the following links:
Now some who are more philosophically inclined might object that philosophers can't define science, so we can't know that ID is science. It is true that philosophers have long debated the precise definition of science. In fact, current trends in philosophy of science eschew the use of demarcation criteria to distinguish between science and non-science. Larry Laudan comments on the consensus of this field:
[T]here is no demarcation line between science and non-science, or between science and pseudo-science, which would win assent from a majority of philosophers.
(Larry Laudan, Beyond Positivism and Relativism: Theory, Method, and Evidence, p. 210 (Westview Press 1996).)
As an initial response, I would point out that if we can't say ID is science, then we also can't definitely say ID isn't science. Still, I believe it is possible to show that ID qualifies as science. While the precise definition of science may be unclear, most would agree there are certain qualities that clearly place some ideas on the side of science. One of those qualities is the scientific method. If an idea uses the scientific method, most would agree that it is scientific.
Second, a main source cited by ID-critics on this question is the Kitzmiller v. Dover ruling. If you aren't familiar with it, the Kitzmiller v. Dover case was the first -- and to date the only -- lawsuit to assess the constitutionality of teaching ID in public schools. Unfortunately the judge in that case found ID was not science, that it was religion, and he ruled ID is unconstitutional to teach in public schools. But he could only make that ruling by getting numerous things wrong, including defining ID incorrectly, and completely ignoring the evidence of pro-ID peer-reviewed scientific papers that were submitted to him during the trial. We wrote a law review article -- a pretty strong one in my opinion -- responding to the judge's ruling in the case. Our article addresses, in some detail, why ID is science. You might wish to skip past some of the technical legal analysis, but I think that overall, the article is very readable by anyone, even if you're not a legal scholar. Titled "Intelligent Design Will Survive Kitzmiller v. Dover," it can be found free online. See especially Part VI, "Error #3: Dismissing the Scientific Case for Design."
Third, Michael Behe also wrote a response to the Dover ruling titled "Whether Intelligent Design is Science?" It's a good resource too, and is free online.
Fourth, I wrote a lay-level article on this issue a couple years ago on the merits of ID, which got posted on the website OpposingViews.com. The article is titled "ID is Constitutional and Has Educational and Legal Merit" (also free online). That article explains, in more basic terms, some the reasons that we know ID is science, and also responds to common objections.
Finally, regarding the issue of ID and peer-reviewed scientific papers, you should be aware that ID proponents have published many peer-reviewed scientific papers. Nonetheless, it's not necessary to be published in peer-reviewed papers to be scientific. For details, please see the following two links:
I hope this helps!
Two other great resources I neglected to mention are Stephen Meyer's bookSignature in the Cell--especially chapters 18 and 19 where he addresses whether ID is science, as well as Meyer's chapter in the book Nature of Nature, "Sauce for the Goose: Intelligent Design, Scientific Methodology, and the Demarcation Problem."
Last edited by Admin on Sun Jun 28, 2020 1:31 pm; edited 8 times in total