Intelligent Design Debate…

October 16, 2006

On October 12th, at the CATO Institute, Michael Shermer, author of Why Darwin Matters, presented his case against intelligent design in a debate with Jonathan Wells, Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture, Discovery Institute.  I just finished watching this debate and was pleased with the intellectual congeniality and engagement.  BUT, I have a few things I want to vent about:

1)  It blows my mind that (in this case) Shermer is going on and on about how we don’t need to stop when the science gets tough and posit the God of the Gaps.   So, he is saying that we need to “roll up our sleeves and keep doing science.”  BUT, he is not starting from a scientific premise.  THIS IS IMPORTANT.  He assumes materialistic natural philosophy.  This is where his science begins.  BUT, this is not a scientific theory.  This is a philosophical theory.  How is this any different from positing a “god of the gaps”?  Further, most serious ID scholars are not wanting to posit  a “god of the gaps.”  They are simply wanting to pose a problem with Darwinism and follow the evidence where it leads.  They want to be able to practice this without being called “pseudo-scientists” or “masked creationists.”  Most of the time their position is reviewed in popular media it is straw-manned as such (though, we have been guilty of the same),

2)  Something I heard William Dembske say at a conference I attended a year or so ago really stuck with me.  WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS FOR THE FACT THAT ALL EXPERIMENTS NECESSARILY INVOLVE PERSONAL AGENCY?  The scientist might be able to recreate, in a controlled environment,  microevolution.  However, they cannot recreate macroevolution.  Most importantly though, experiments cannot occur without personal agency.  So, to create the sorts of things they are wanting to argue for, they must “design” the parameters.  They must “fix the books so to speak.”  No experiments occur, or come about, or coalesce “randomly” or by “unguided processes.”  This is a problem.

3) Jonathan Wells pointed out that polls show consistently that about 80-85% of the nation do not believe in a Darwinism that posits that things came about by “unguided processes” or “random mutation.”  However, ALL tax payers currently pay for this science to monopolize public education.  Further, as Jonathan Wells rightly insisted, the “universities are not the bastions of competing ideas” that we think they are.  Rather, they are just as politicized and monopolized, even to the point that any prof that engages in I.D. is ostracized, often times being forced to leave or fired.  One example of this is Guillermo Gonzales.  There is a professor at the institution where he works that is on a crusade to get him fired.  Does this sound like intellectual freedom?

I could keep going…but I must study now.

Watch the debate here.

What are your thoughts?