Proponents of ID claim that it is a viable scientific alternative to Darwinism. As such, they say, it deserves a place alongside Darwin in science lessons.Let me interrupt just a moment to point out an obvious (and as obviously ignored) truth: the public and political reaction to ID is so visceral and over-the-top because Darwin's mouthpieces are dogmatic*, reactionary and even fundamentalist aggressors who would deny school pupils the chance to hear all sides of the debate. One only need listen to the shrillness and overwhelming force (especially among high school teachers, education bureaucrats, religious liberals, and similar non-scientists) with which any ID proposal is met to realize we are dealing with a subject of the heart rather than the brain. I can't think of another area of science which even comes close to the emotional fervor with which Darwin is shielded from even the slightest public criticism, and in the area of politics only MLK2 comes close. What? Oh, sorry, carry on:
Who could argue with that? Darwin's theory has been around for nearly 150 years and has survived many challenges. Why not throw in ID too? Isn't education all about exposing children to ideas and letting them make up their own minds, not force-feeding them dogma?
...By framing the debate in this way, the creationists - and, yes, they are creationists - have pulled off an impressive rhetorical coup. They have cast the scientists as dogmatic, reactionary and even fundamentalist aggressors who would deny school pupils the chance to hear all sides of the debate.
In reality, ID is not a new idea at all, but one that goes back to Descartes and beyond. The Christian philosopher William Paley, in 1802, asked his readers to imagine finding a watch while walking on a heath...In reality, this debate is not centuries old, but millennia, and Paley's argument was not original, but was stolen wholesale from Cicero's On the Nature of the Gods. Marcus Tullius Cicero was of course a very famous Christian fundamentalist, so perhaps he ought to be ignored (he certainly has not been answered). The Guardian's science editor should know better, unless he's purposely trying to make the argument from design uniquely Christian rather than the pagan one it originated as. Then he's just being dishonest.
It is true that complex things in nature look as if they have been designed.Well, there is that, yes, but here's the real point:
(U)nlike Darwinism, the pseudo-science of ID can never be disproved. Show the creationists how the bacterial tail evolved and they will shift their argument to another complex structure which supposedly shows the hand of the creator. There is no evidence that could in principle disprove ID, so by definition it is not science.Let me be the first to say that I agree that ID is not science and that creationism is not science. It's not even an argument, they are simply not. However, I would like just once for a person who defends Darwin to explain to me (and type slowly, because I'm not very bright) a single way to disprove Darwinism. Seriously. If Darwinism is science, is there evidence that could disprove it? What is it and where should we look for it? Can we fashion a test that would show the theory to be false? What would such a test entail? Can we hold Darwinism to precisely the same standard of science that is explained above?
I have never seen such; in fact, I've never even seen an attempt. And the reason I have never seen it is that Darwinism is not science, either. Darwinism, like Creationism and ID, is a paradigm of history within which evidence is interpreted. It is a story about unique events that happened in the past, and a story that begins "Millions of years ago..." is no different in principle than one that begins "Fourscore and seven years ago...". They are both history undergirding philosophy; neither is science. When a 'scientist' talks about the unique events that formed the universe, he is not doing anything different than the historian who talks about the unique events that formed the United States, with one exception: the evidence is orders of magnitudes better for the latter.
The great evolutionist political advantage, of course, is the ease with which evolution can be confused with real science - sometimes evolutionists even dress in lab coats to get the point across - and evolutionists loudly proclaim that if we don't teach our kids evolution (and only evolution) they'll rely on newspaper horoscopes to know the future and no one will remember how to design digital watches. The fatal flaw in their uber-plan is that they insist on teaching evolution in the public schools, which pretty much explains why relatively few people believe in it, and even those who do neither understand it nor can explain it, even though they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.
* [E]volutionists are obsessed by Christianity and Creationism, with which they imagine themselves to be in mortal combat. This is peculiar to them. Note that other sciences, such as astronomy and geology, even archaeology, are equally threatened by the notion that the world was created in 4004 BC. Astronomers pay not the slightest attention to creationist ideas. Nobody does—except evolutionists. We are dealing with competing religions—overarching explanations of origin and destiny. Thus the fury of their response to skepticism.
-- Fred Reed