Intelligent design (ID) and its defeat in the 2005 Dover trial, in Pennsylvania USA, are old news. It’s sad that we in New Zealand had to wait until Sunday evening to see the BBC documentary “A War on Science” which covered the Dover trial and its background. If you missed the programme it is available online. Meanwhile a new film , Judgment Day, a reconstruction of the Dover trial, screened in the US last week. It is now also available online.
ID and miracles
Although ID claims to be a new movement it is actually an old idea. William Paley presented his argument by design in 1802, over 50 years before publication of Darwin’s “Origin of Species”. Despite this there is no credible body of science supporting ID. This is because it, in essence, relies on miracles – explaining a gap in knowledge by declaring “God did it!” rather than researching the problems. The latter is the scientific approach and it has produced a huge body of science supporting evolutionary theory.
Appeal to supernatural explanations is a “science stopper.” In Isaac Newton and intelligent design I describe how Newton made this mistake when he couldn’t explain the organisation of planets in the solar system. This mistake prevented him from solving a problem he was perfectly capable of handling.
ID controversy is not a problem in science
The “War on Science” documentary showed that there is no real controversy within science about evolution. This battle is actually occurring in the non-scientific world – the courtrooms, school boards, politics and the battle for the hearts of minds of the non-scientific population. Robert T. Pennock, professor of history and philosophy of science at Michigan State University, USA, pointed out that “at its base [the creation/evolution debate] is about religion and it is about philosophy.”
Intelligent design/creationism may indeed be carrying out a war on science, but it is not a controversy within science. If anything it is a conflict within religion.
The Collapse of Intelligent Design Ken Miller (one of the expert witnesses for the defense in the Dover trial) demolishes specific scientific claims made by ID.
Judgment Day NOVA documentary
A War on Science BBC documentary
Critical Analysis of Intelligent Design
Evolution, Education and the Law
National Center for Science education
Center for the Understanding of Origins Video Library
Video: Intelligent Design and Creationism/Evolution Controversy – Eugenie C. Scott
Should we teach creationism?
Intelligent design/creationism I: What is scientific knowledge?
Intelligent design/creationism II: Is it scientific?
Intelligent design/creationism III: The religious agenda
Intelligent design/creationism IV: The religion – science conflict
Intelligent design/creationism: Postscript
Evolution’s threat to religion?
Isaac Newton and intelligent design
Intelligent design attacks on Christianity