Intelligent Design is not science, and should not be taught in science lessons

Alastair Noble has a comment piece in the Guardian (Response: Intelligent design should not excluded from the study of origins) in which he argues that Intelligent Design should be included in UK science lessons. It’s in response tot the news a few weeks ago that evolution was back on the national curriculum for primary school science lessons – in this context, he insists that ID should be afforded the status as science.  In his comment article he says:

As a former science teacher and schools inspector, I am disturbed that proposals for science education are based on near-complete ignorance of intelligent design.

This statement is a little economical with the truth for, as his brief bio on the article says:

Dr Alastair Noble is an educational consultant and lay preacher, and a former teacher and research chemist. (my emphasis)

So, no bias there.  Alastair, ID is not a science, makes no testable predictions and is a pathetic attempt at an explanation of the diversity of life that relies on the existence of a designer – in other words a supernatural force or creator.  It’s religious belief with a fake veneer of science.  What exactly are your biological research qualifications?

It is an all too common error to confuse intelligent design with religious belief. While creationism draws its conclusions primarily from religious sources, intelligent design argues from observations of the natural world. And it has a good pedigree. A universe intelligible by design principles was the conclusion of many of the great pioneers of modern science.

It is easily overlooked that the origin of life, the integrated complexity of biological systems and the vast information content of DNA have not been adequately explained by purely materialistic or neo-Darwinian processes. Indeed it is hard to see how they ever will.

Alistair, it’s not a confusion to confuse ID with religious belief.  ID is part of a wedge strategy to deflect teaching away from evidence based science towards an unsubstantiated belief in a “designer” – it argues from a position of ignorance of biological processes and from a failure to understand.  Furthermore its pedigree is not good – to cite the great pioneers of science is to ignore that they were probably working in an era in which a true understanding of evolutionary biology had not been reached.  Evolutionary biology does not explain the origins of life (other branches of science seek to do that, and I believe that the integrated complexity of biological systems have beenn and are being explained by the evidence-based process of scientific enquiry – which includes evolutionary biology, but not the intellectually inadequate “Intelligent Design”.

Noble goes on to suggest that evolution is not observable.  I say go and read “Why Evolution is True” by Jerry Coyne: he gives a hugely eloquent exposition of how evolutionary processes are not only supported by a huge quantity of evidence, but that it make testable predictions.  And that all these predictions, when tested, support evolution.  And in this it is complete contrast to the vacuous ideas of Intelligent Design.

Teach ID in religious education classes.  That’s where it belongs, not in science education.

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5 thoughts on “Intelligent Design is not science, and should not be taught in science lessons

  1. Bravo!!!!

    I just read Noble's piece in the Guardian and was, frankly, appalled. A quick look online dug this post up, and it expresses exactly my sentiments but much more eloquently than I could have done.


  2. I did leave a brief comment over at The Guardian pointing out Noble is a lay preacher (which he conveniently omitted from his article. It's also notable that many of the "scientifically qualified" ID supporters are not biologists.

    First time I've been described as eloquent!

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