Saturday, August 20, 2005

Where's the 'Hypothesis' for Intelligent Design?

The New York Times article, Politicized Scholars Put Evolution on the Defensive, is overly generous by calling Intelligent Design (ID) a hypothesis:

As much philosophical worldview as scientific hypothesis, intelligent design challenges Darwin's theory of natural selection by arguing that some organisms are too complex to be explained by evolution alone, pointing to the possibility of supernatural influences.
To qualify as a scientific hypothesis, ID has to provide a tentative explanation that accounts for a set of facts. The explanation must then be tested by further investigation. This is a fundamental, don't pass go and collect $200 before you satisfy this condition, principle of the Scientific Method (see also: Hypothesis--> Theory-->Law).

Supporters of ID posit an explanation but no testing. Since this issue is heating up here in Ohio, parents and educators would benefit from the point/counter point discussion offered by Intelligent Design? a special report reprinted from Natural History magazine and Is the "Intelligent Designer" argument a Scientific One?, which is very detailed but succintly concludes with the following:

Deep down inside, what the IDers are really moaning and complaining about is NOT that science unfairly rejects their supernaturalistic explanations, but that science demands ID's proposed "supernaturalistic explanations" be tested according to the scientific method, just like every OTHER hypothesis has to be. Not only can ID not test any of its "explanations", but it wants to modify science so it doesn't HAVE to. In effect, the IDers want their supernaturalistic "hypothesis" to have a privileged position - they want their hypothesis to be accepted by science WITHOUT being tested; they want to follow steps one and two of the scientific method, but prefer that we just skip steps 3,4 and 5, and just simply take their religious word for it, on the authority of their own say-so, that their "science" is correct. And that is what their entire argument over "materialism" (or "naturalism" or "atheism" or "sciencism" or "darwinism" or whatever the heck else they want to call it) boils down to.

There is no legitimate reason for the ID hypothesis to be privileged and have the special right to be exempted from testing, that other hypotheses do not. I see no reason why their hypotheses, whatever they are, should not be subjected to the very same testing process that everyone ELSE's hypotheses, whatever they are, have to go through. If they cannot put their "hypothesis" through the same scientific method that everyone ELSE has to, then they have no claim to be "science". Period.

1 Comments:

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August 21, 2005 at 3:57 AM  

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