Intelligible design

There are some good presentations available on the internet at the moment. I had look at Darwins Evolving Legacy series from the Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas and found this one by Fred Grinnel. He is  author of the book Everyday Practice of Science: Where Intuition and Passion Meet Objectivity and Logic and professor of cell biology. Grinnell gave this seminar a few weeks ago on The Everyday Practice of Science (See Part 1 and Part 2 of the lecture).

I enjoyed it because he showed that scientific research is not the dull, formal and algorithmic procedure that some people think it is. Emotion and serendipity play important roles and help make research exciting and satisfying.

Although he didn’t specifically talk about evolutionary science he did illustrate aspects of the scientific method by comparing it with the approach taken by intelligent design (ID) proponents. The comparison is made in this table from his talk:

Intelligible Design

Intelligent Design

1759: Impossible for developmental biology to explain transformation of a single cell (fertilised ovum) into a new set of tissues and organs. 1992: Irreducible complexity makes it impossible for evolutionary biology to account from common ancestry of all forms.
Hypothetic force outside the known laws of nature required – Vis essentialis Hypothetical force outside the known laws of nature required – Intelligent design.
Supporters understand Vis essentialis as a “place holder” (truth) requiring further investigation – credible knowledge. Supporters understand Intelligent Design to require no further investigation. They know the truth of the designer – GOD.
Another 25 years of biomedical research provides the contemporary account of development that replaces the Vis essentialis. Having faith in the Truth of the matter ends research and situates Intelligent Design outside of science – and hopefully outside the science classroom.

I think this gives a good example of the different methodologies. It does show how the “God did it” explanations of ID and similar “theistic science” advocates is so sterile. Whether the field is the origins and evolution of the universe and life or human morality and the brain the “God did it” approach gets us nowhere. It just stops science.

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5 responses to “Intelligible design

  1. Just dropping by.Btw, you website have great content!

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  2. Disagree..why would supporters of Intelligent Design require no further investigation? “They know the truth of the designer – GOD.” SO WHAT?…Having the knowledge of Intelligent Designer hardly eliminates research potential, esp. if said Intelligent Designer is supposedly infinite in nature. Duh. If God is an Infinite Being, as they say he is…there would be all kinds of infinite wisdom, knowledge, and truth to search out. Ergo, infinite knowledge would be investigable …might take a long time, actually…


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