The discussion on this blog has lately turned to the question of whether or not Intelligent Design is science (see comments on recent posts). To generate some more discussion, I offer the following post adapted from Chapter 6 of I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist:
The Darwinists= claim that Intelligent Design is not science cannot be determined from science itself. Science requires philosophical assumptions, and Darwinists philosophically rule out intelligent causes before they look at the evidence. As we have seen, science is a search for causes, and there are only two types of causes: intelligent and nonintelligent (natural). But, of course, if your definition of science rules out intelligent causes beforehand, then you=ll never consider Intelligent Design science.
The irony for the Darwinists is this: if Intelligent Design is not science, then neither is Darwinism. Why? Because both Darwinists and Intelligent Design scientists are trying to discover what happened in the past. Origin questions are forensic questions, and thus require the use of the forensic science principles we already have discussed. In fact, for Darwinists to rule out Intelligent Design from the realm of science, in addition to ruling out themselves, they would also have to rule out archaeology, cryptology, criminal and accident forensic investigations, and the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). These are all legitimate forensic sciences that look into the past for intelligent causes. Something must be wrong with the Darwinists= definition of science.
Table 6.2 shows the difference between empirical science and forensic science:
Empirical (Operation) Science Forensic (Origin) Science
Studies present Studies past
Studies regularities Studies singularities
Studies repeatable Studies unrepeatable
Re-creation possible Re-creation impossible
Studies how things work Studies how things began
Tested by repeatable experiment Tested by uniformity
Asks how something operates Asks what its origin is
How does water fall? What=s the origin of a hydroelectric plant?
How does rock erode? What=s the origin of Mount Rushmore?
How does an engine work? What=s the origin of an engine?
How does ink adhere to paper? What=s the origin of this book?
How does life function? What=s the origin of life?
How does the universe operate? What=s the origin of the universe?
What about God of the Gaps? Next post.