It always seems surprising when I hear LDS people arguing for the Discovery Institute’s fundamentalist evangelical campaign of Intelligent Design as if there were some science behind the idea. ID was exposed long ago as a backdoor attempt to get creationism taught in the schools. This was made abundantly clear in the Dover Trial, in which ID was put under the microscope and found to be a fuzz ball rather than a living organism—by a conservative Christian judge nonetheless. It’s an idea without a modicum of scientific merit. There are no scientific institutes, programs or organizations that recognize it as a science. Still, myths persist. Here are a few.
Science has not seriously considered IDs claims that it is a science.
This is wrong. Behe (Chemist not Biologist) proposed the idea of irreducible complexity as the centerpiece of ID theory. He gave a few examples of what he thought it might look like. The bacterial flagellum. The eye. But Behe’s claim proved to be more a lack of awareness to evolutionary mechanisms than an idea. The eye was easy. Evolutionary pathways for the eye are well-understood. His others fail too. For example, his claim that the bacterial flagellum demonstrated irreducible complexity was given a nice scientific hearing, and was taken seriously enough to put it to the test . . . and then gunned down in a series of papers (see the Reading list at the end of this wiki article on the evolution of the flagellum). So it has been with everything thing ID has proposed as an example of irreducible complexity.
If ID were a science it would have responded to these slams to its sacred irreducible cow. But did it? No. Behe still disingenuously gives the example of the bacterial flagellum in his talks. Has any IDer responded to the numerous science critiques? No. Not any.
See, this is how science is played. Someone attacks your idea, and you respond, with data, analyses, the usual scientific ways of carrying-on. But they don’t respond. Then they have the audacity to say science is not responding. No the truth is they have no response. So they retreat to the Internet and complain they aren’t taken seriously.
In addition, philosophers of science have created a number of detailed responses. Indeed, the philosophy of science journal Synthese has devoted their entire last issue to responses. Biology and Philosophy has had numerous articles. Nature and Science magazines have published many articles on it. Many, many books by scientists and philosophers of science have responded. Their conclusion, universally reached, is that this is not a science. Even the Dover Judge could see it. It’s a load of manure being sold as gold. I can’t imagine why people continue to hoard it.
Yet the whining continues. The ‘whaaa, whaa, whaa we aren’t being taken seriously whines on. The flagellum keeps being held up as if no one has answered. Nonsense. Their PR machine grinds on in websites, but that, and their book industry, is all they have. And science keeps having to waste its time responding to the snake oil salesman.
How about Something is a valid science if it criticizes science.
Well if it had. There has been no substantial critique of evolutionary biology published. (Whaa, Whaa, Whaa what about the bacterial flagellum?)
Science, as I’ve written, is a blood-thirsty free-for-all and arguments about evolution are many and involved (take a look at the recent issue of the journal Evolution to see real ones. This is the game in action. Look at it. Really, look at Evolutionary biology as it is practiced. This is science doing science). Science is nothing but a constant critique of itself, its methods, and its findings. The fact that ID has manifestly not joined the conversation is evidence that it is more akin to astrology than astronomy.
Yet, what puzzles me most is why LDS people would jump on this bandwagon. It is being driven by and for fundamentalist creationisms. Nearly, everyone involved is part of the Discovery Institute (Ironic name for an organization devoted to nondiscovery). It suggests God is a tinkerer, a Harry Potter God who can’t get right and has to dip his wand into the potion to keep it going. This is a much smaller God than Mormonism knows. Small in knowledge and in capacity. This is not the God Joseph Smith revealed, who used and understood natural law.
Let me say it more simply. ID is not a science. It never was. Those who take it seriously as something LDS people should be involved in do damage to both science and its theology. It is a little idea, soundly refuted, that continues to sell its wares from the back of a wagon marked “Miracle Max Cures all Aliments.”