Saturday, November 05, 2005

Intelligent Design Theory

One side says it's not science. The other side says it's good science. Actually, it's bad science.

The theory is a testable hypothesis. There would be evidence for the theory if all the facts about biology were in and there were origins of life forms that were inexplicable other than by appealing to a supernatural designer. Everything has a cause. If we were to gather all of the facts in biology labs and, sifting through these facts, find that they are unable to account for the origins of life forms, we would be warranted in appealing to supernatural causes.

However, ID of today is, to put it mildly, premature. Biologists haven't gathered all of the facts yet. To assert at this time that there are mysteries, irreducible complexities, or what have you shows considerable doxastic incontinence. When you jump the gun, you get refuted the next year by other biologists. For example, Behe's theory that evolution can't explain certain complex arrangements in nature involved his assuming that evolution couldn't explain how a complex arrangement could arrise by evolution when it could not exist without any one of its components. But other biologists demonstrated that he shouldn't have been so credulous.

People like Behe should put their manuscripts aside and wait a couple hundred years. Maybe by then biology will be finished and leave an impossible remainder of mysteries requiring supernatural explanation. Given that it's got just about everything sewn up at this point, I wouldn't bet on evolutionary theory failing to finish the story complete. But who knows? It's possible. Some people, like Art Bell or whoever, think the planet was seeded by a dying race of Martians. God, Martians, ordinary evolution? We'll see. So far no sign of God or Martians yet.