Saw most of the NOVA documentary on the Intelligent Design (ID) movement on PBS tonight, and I thought it was poorly conceived. In essence, it amounted to a one-sided, ad hominem attack whose chief argument was that ID proponents are dunces and perjurers.
The response to irreducible complexity was particularly bad. Sure, there may be other molecular designs in nature that share many common components with a full-fledged flagellum (like that alliteration there?), but do they serve the same purpose? Are they attempting to perform the same function in a “less evolved” way? (Such questions highlight why the “mousetrap” stunt the anti-ID folks employed fails to refute irreducible complexity.) And even if there is commonality of design, it doesn’t prove that less complex forms are necessarily transitory in an evolutionary sense. The only way one would come to such a conclusion by default is if he or she presupposes a naturalistic framework.
And that’s really the key issue, I think. Why should presuppositional naturalism and its proffered theory of origins receive unqualified state sanction and preference? The inference to design is reasonably performed by every human being every day vis-a-vis objects and systems that are less complex by orders of magnitude than the molecular machinery present inside a single cell. ID makes the same logical inference with respect to origins theory; the real problem people have with it is not that it is a bastardization of science that would unhinge our entire education system, but rather the fact that it deigns to compete with some of atheism’s underlying sacred cows, as well as its choke hold on our public schools.
I have an idea. If we can’t see our way clear to allow ID to be taught at the very least as a possible inference from scientific data that’s available to us, let’s get ideology out of the picture entirely and not teach naturalism either. And for all of you who are squealing that ID is not falsifiable and therefore nonscientific, the same could be said of the atheist’s pet assertion that philosophical naturalism is a necessary corollary of the scientific method.
William Lane Craig, one of my favorite apologists, has an audio blog full of commentary on current events. In a recent post, he discusses “the new atheism” and its designs on our children and parental rights, as well as the faulty premise that polytheism is innately more “tolerant” than monotheism.
Some of this is disturbing stuff, some of it gets downright funny (listen to Craig’s voice crack when he’s describing the absurdity of a professor’s assertions about polytheism). All of it is important listening. Check it out…