I’ve often wondered why Christians (or anyone else) would be attracted to the argument of Intelligent Design. It seems like the kickdog of science, begging scraps of information to sustain its meager existence.
If I were worried about maintaining a literal or near-literal interpretation of the Bible, then I wouldn’t ask anything of science. I’d lunge into the very feet of science, fangs first: deny that cause and effect are anything more than an illusion. God controls all events, and any apparent connection between one event and another is the deluded conclusion of the mind of fallen mankind. Thus, repeatable experiments are mere deceptions, and science proves nothing. That’s what I’d say, if I was still a fundamentalist.
But fundamentalists have other Dunkleosteus to fry. Their task is not merely to posit a theoretical basis for their beliefs, they must also be convincing. It’s not philosophy, it’s marketing. In marketing you go with what people want to believe. And our society places implicit faith in science — even though most people don’t understand or practice it well at all. People today speak science like the New Testament speaks Greek: badly formed, sometimes intentionally, to give the appearance of logic to a point that sorely lacks it.
Thus Intelligent Design wears the trappings of the scientific method in order to give credence to some interpretation of the Genesis stories of creation (pick one). Clue: whenever anyone, of any persuasion, attempts to present data in order to give credence to an idea, you should immediately mistrust the data. It’s cooked.
Which is why I also get a bit uncomfortable when scientists react with dismay when people question the theory of evolution. Don’t get me wrong, I think that natural evolution is the best theory to date to explain the manifold forms that life on earth has assumed, and the relationships between those forms. (Aside: and if you’re a theist, why can’t natural evolution be God’s mechanism for creation?) But IMHO any good scientist should want all theories to be questioned and tested, so that they can be revised and refined and — yes, maybe even rejected for something that better explains the phenomena. Now I don’t believe for a minute that anyone will ever present a reasonable argument that species don’t change over generations. But I do think that our understanding of how species have evolved in the past might still be open to revision. Don’t you think so, Greg? (love your blog, BTW)
But ah, the nuances of human communication. It’s never about the facts, it’s always about the intentions. When ID “scientists” question the theory of evolution, I get the distinct feeling that they aren’t really trying to improve on it — they want to discredit it. Facts and agenda just don’t mix. Except in marketing.