by Brian Hearn
What is Intelligent Design? If you ask the average proponent of Darwinian evolution, the answer is Creationism. He or she will say ID is nothing more than a god-of-the-gaps scheme concocted by a bunch of fundamentalist Christians. Ironically, if you ask the average Christian the same question, you’ll get a complimentary version of the same answer! When it comes to a real understanding of ID, neither side has much incentive to do the heavy lifting. It’s easier for opponents to excommunicate Intelligent Design from Science and those who believe in a Creator do not require it as a confirmation – ID is a given. Yet contributors on the frontline of Intelligent Design are adding to our understanding of the world; certainly more so than critics give them credit and probably less than what most theists think. The high road in this debate is neither ad hominem attacks, nor tacit support. In the next few blogs I will cover:
· What is ID?
· What elements of ID are straightforward and potentially fruitful?
· What elements of ID require further development?
What is Intelligent Design?
Straight from the Discovery Institute, the leading ID think-tank, Intelligent Design is defined as follows:
The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection[i]
Immediately the skeptic’s dander is up. They will say: ID invokes an intelligent cause, which we all know is God. Since science only deals with natural causes, ID is not science. Of course this line of reasoning misconstrues the methodology ID scientists might employ with the potential outcome of their research. But critics do not stop here. It is not uncommon for them to introduce two more red herrings: First; invoking an intelligent cause for life and the universe hinders scientific inquiry and discovery. Second, an intelligent cause is beyond scientific investigation and therefore adds nothing to our understanding of the world. I will show why these accusations are false using the following analogy…
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