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Challenges to Intelligent Design

As part of the Faith Beyond Belief group, I’ve been tasked with writing our apologetics course module on Creation and as such have been doing some more research on intelligent design (ID). I’ve been digging into Stephen Meyer’s latest book “Signature in the Cell” as well as engaging in some on-line discussions with those who would attack ID as a “non-science”.

As we put forward evidences for ID, we will be met with many vigorous objections, most of which don’t deal with the arguments that we are making, but instead, accuse us of being various forms of religious fruitcakes, emptyheaded, anti-science fundamentalists, Barney the dino creationists (remember Stockwell Day?) etc. A good friend of mine sent me this link, which provides good answers to many of these types of challenges that ID receives, one of which I reprint here.


1] ID is “not science”

On the contrary, as Dr William Dembski, a leading intelligent design researcher, has aptly stated:

“Intelligent Design is . . . a scientific investigation into how patterns exhibited by finite arrangements of matter can signify intelligence.”

At its best, science is an unfettered (but ethically and intellectually responsible) and progressive search for the truth about our world based on reasoned analysis of empirical observations. The very antithesis of an unfettered search for truth occurs when scientists don intellectual blinkers and assert dogmatically that all conclusions must conform to “materialist” philosophy. Such an approach prevents the facts from speaking for themselves. The search for truth can only suffer when it is artificially constrained by those who would impose materialist orthodoxy by authoritarian fiat before the investigation has even begun. This approach obviously begs the question, but, sadly, it is all too common among those who would cloak their metaphysical prejudices with the authority of institutional science or the law.

This is especially unfortunate, because just a moment’s reflection is enough to conclude that it is untrue that science must necessarily be limited to the investigation of material causes only. Material causes consist of chance and mechanical necessity (the so called “laws of nature”) or a combination of the two. Yet investigators of the world as far back as Plato have recognized a third type of cause exists – acts by an intelligent agent (i.e., “design”). Experience confirms beyond the slightest doubt that acts by intelligent agents frequently result in empirically observable signs of intelligence. Indeed, if this were not so, we would have to jettison forensics, to cite just one of many examples, from the rubric of “science.”

Just look all around you. The very fact that you are reading this sentence confirms that you are able to distinguish it from noise.

Moreover, ID satisfies all the conditions usually required for scientific inquiry (i.e., observation, hypothesis, experiment, conclusion):

1. It is based on empirical data: the empirical observation of the process of human design, and specific properties common to human design and biological information (CSI).

2. It is a quantitative and internally consistent model.

3. It is falsifiable: any positive demonstration that CSI can easily be generated by non design mechanisms is a potential falsification of the ID theory.

4. It makes empirically testable and fruitful predictions.

Greg Koukl speaks of these types of challenges often. In his recent interview with Stephen Meyer the point came up that even if you call ID religion and not science, that doesn’t make the view false, its just an attempt to besmirch it. Its an attempt to get others to reject the idea because you have minimized it in their own mind—”it’s just religion”, therefore they don’t have to give it any credence. But responses like this don’t deal with the merits, they don’t deal with the substantive and significant objections to Neo-Darwinism that have been raised and continue to be raised by credible researchers.

There are many more good answers like this on the page. If you are interested in this subject at all, and want to engage the opposition with good, reasoned answers, I encourage you to go there and read more. For “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God…” (2Cor 10:5).