Posted by: John Vandivier | December 1, 2012

ID is Real Science! (Part 1)

In my last article I noted 5 common objections to ID. In this post I will begin to show why those objections fail. It will involve some discussion of the actual theories of ID. I will elaborate on the actual theories of ID further in the future in later posts.

#1 Intelligent Design is not a testable theory and is therefore not scientific in nature.

While it is true that ID as an explanation for the origin of first life is not strictly observable short of time travel, that does not imply that the concept as a whole is not testable. The concept itself is tested and observed every time human action occurs. In fact there is an entire field of science dedicated to the study of human action. It is known as either Austrian Economics or Praxeology. Human action and the product of human design can be observed every time we cook, work, shop, build or do much of anything.

A further objection would be that ID is an undue extrapolation or unjustified generalization of these concepts of specifically human design, but that is a philosophical discussion. The truth is that ID is based on observation and yields a hypothesis which can be tested. Whether we should or should not extrapolate the results of those tests and what exactly constitutes extrapolation is a question of what the scope of ID should be, rather than a question of whether or not ID has standing in the absolute sense. I would not disagree that some (even several) claims by ID advocates constitute an unjustified extrapolation.

Furthermore it should be noted that this argument cuts both ways. Neodarwinism and macroevolution are not testable either. Instead, they are inferred based on microevolutionary experiments and observations. If theoretical extrapolation in ID is not allowed than theoretical extrapolation in evolution is not allowed. Any other view would be hypocrisy. Schools of science considered to be mainstream and legit frequently engage in theoretical extrapolation. Elements of quantum physics and string theory for example. Dark matter is a huge and foundational concept, but it has only ever been inferred and never directly observed. All these and more would have to be disregarded if we allow only directly observed and reproduced effects to be considered.

#2 Intelligent Design includes philosophical presuppositions or conclusions and is therefore not scientific in nature.

As previously mentioned, I concede that much of ID involves theoretical extrapolation. However, as previously mentioned, there is a significant portion of the science which can and has been directly observed and experimented on. It is a little known fact in the ID community, in fact I may be the only one to notice it, but actually there is an entire science already in existence which has verified the human design portion of ID. It is called Praxeology or Austrian Economics and it is the science of the study of human action. Austrian Economics has a rich and respected history and has accurately predicted many events such as the housing collapse and following financial crisis in the US.

I openly admit that much of the extrapolation of the inferences based on human design can be considered abductive reasoning and that using logic to discern between abductively reasoned points is often done in philosophy, but it is also done in science as well. In fact Darwin used a method called “Inference to the Best Explanation” in order to justify his arguments for natural selection. It was clearly a form of logical reasoning and was not an experiment based proof. See 1:02:29 in the video below. In fact, watch the whole video. It’s done by Stephen Meyer who is a leading ID advocate and scholar and he clarifies many of the points better than I can:

So again, ID has some reasoning involved which may be considered “unscientific,” but so does the rest of science and whether we call it science or not has no bearing on whether or not ID is interesting or true anyway! (PS those are the same points Meyer makes at 1:14:25 when he is asked this very question.)

Well I am out of time for today and the post it getting long anyway! I will address the others in the next posts so stick around!

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