Re: [asa] STATEMENT ON INTELLIGENT DESIGN BY IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY FACULTY

From: Ted Davis <tdavis@messiah.edu>
Date: Thu May 17 2007 - 12:48:06 EDT

The problem with ID complaints about evolution, IMO, is not that they are
necessarily wrong. They might be accurate, in certain instances: there
might be genuine difficulties with the hypothetical scenarios advanced to
explain various complex features of the natural world. The problem, IMO, is
that it is easy to exaggerate such explanatory difficulties into a
*scientific* need to invoke a "designer" who suddenly "explains" these
features without spelling out how, where, and when "design" was inserted
into the mechanisms. This can appear to be a "science stopper," IMO.
Furthermore, it may always be possible to construct/imagine hypothetical
explanations for a given complex feature. When Mike Behe wrote his book, he
quoted Darwin's statement about what it would take to disprove Darwin's
theory: namely, a proof that a given complex feature *could not be
explained* by unguided forces in small steps over time. It's mighty hard to
meet that standard. This doesn't make evolution unfalsifiable, IMO--a
"young" earth, if true, would falsify it for sure--but it does mean that ID
advocates are betting on dead ends, rather than the future progress of
science.

IMO, it's consistent with good science education to talk about the
hypothetical nature of such "as if" scenarios, AND to mention that some
scientists have doubts about their plausibility in certain cases. That's
simply true. It needn't be inherently religious or ideological to say that,
but the politics of the issue have led people to believe that only a
religiously motivated person would do that. Yet another instance of the
politics dominating the science.

At the same time, lots of ideologues (of the religious variety) have seized
on ID claims as the basis to make far reaching, unsupported claims about
culture and worldview. This of course provides lots of evidence to say that
mentioning explanatory difficulties with aspects of evolution must be
motivated by religious beliefs. It's a two-edged sword, with truth being
cut out in the process.

ted

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Received on Thu May 17 12:48:46 2007

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