Thursday, August 04, 2005

Intelligent Design Is Not Science




I've been wondering whether or not I wanted to weigh in on Bush's statements that Intelligent Design should be taught in the science curriculum, but it seems necessary considering how much play his words have received in the press. There needs to be a rational stance taken by someone (though I know better than to assume I am being rational).

BeliefNet has posted an article by William Dembski supporting Bush's suggestion that Intelligent Design should be taught alongside Evolution in the science curriculum. Dembski is a well-known anti-evolutionist, so it comes as no surprise that he would support Bush's stance. His arguments are lame, at best, and most often silly. He lacks any understanding of the advances the Enlightenment brought to scientific endeavors. Still, he is well-known and gaining followers as some more educated "creationists" begin to see the futility of their position.

However, no matter how they try to dress it up and take it dancing, Intelligent Design is not science. Why, you ask? Because any and all scientific theories are only useful insofar as they are testable. There is no way to test Intelligent Design. Furthermore, science deals with the realm of things, with physical objects, whether they are rocks, trees, or human beings. An "intelligent designer" can only be inferred, at best, as it is not of the realm of things.

Please refer to Ken Wilber's four-quadrant map of the Kosmos (above). The right-hand side of the grid covers exterior realities, the realm of ITS. The left-hand side covers the interior realities, the realm of I and WE. The realm of ITS is the proper domain of science. This is not where you will find God, Spirit, or any other scientifically verifiable version of an intelligent designer.

Notice I said verifiable. God or Spirit is, of course, present throughout Its creation. Yes, It's creation -- as in, there is an intelligent designer. How one defines the Creator will depend upon the religion or spiritual tradition to which one belongs. Therefore, God or Spirit can only be experienced in the realm of I or WE, not in the realm of ITS.

If they (Bush and his followers) want to teach Intelligent Design in the schools, be my guest -- but it should be taught in a humanities class, not in a science class. And while they are teaching creation stories, they should include stories from all the world's major religious traditions and from indigenous cultures as well. If they refuse to teach other versions of how the world came to be, the true intent of their agenda will be apparent.
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