The Centre for Intelligent Design claim “empirical evidence for design”
Alastair Noble and David Galloway (two of the governing triumvirate of the Centre for Intelligent Design) have penned a rather indignant response to the recent article in The Herald (Would you Adam and Eve it). This rather odd riposte makes a few claims.
They are upset that many equate Intelligent Design with Creationism. Well, I’m afraid I do just that. Noble and Galloway claim that the distinction between ID and Creationism is that the former is “an inference drawn from evidence in nature” as opposed to creationism, which is based on interpretation of religious texts. I would argue that ID may well be inferred from natural evidence (or rather a misinterpretation of natural evidence), but is shares with creationism the requirement for a supernatural entity (a god in the case of creationism, a “designer” in the case of ID). Essentially, Intelligent Design is an argument from incredulity – in the absence of an understanding of the natural processes that give rise to the diversity and complexity of life, ID proponents fall back on superstition as an “explanation”. It’s also worth noting the religious background of C4ID triumvirate.
Noble and Galloway then repeat a series mis-statements often used as the support for ID.
Fine tuning of natural laws – a hoary old claim much-abused by ID proponents and creationists alike. Unfortunately this assertion fails at the mere observation that we’re only here to make an observation of the universe because the natural laws are what they are.
Noble and Galloway assert that cells are so complex that design must be inferred. Cells and organisms are indeed complex. But those of us acquainted with modern evolutionary biology can see the combination of variation and natural selection coupled with long time periods as a perfectly acceptable and natural (rather than supernatural) solution. This leads on to another old chestnut; the claim that biological information is an enduring problem of modern biology.
The trouble for Noble and Galloway is that the scientific consensus disagrees with them that there is something particular about the information held in DNA that needs a supernatural designer as explanation. To say that “all human experience suggests that information arises only from intelligent mind” is to ignore decades of research in genetics and molecular biology, coupled with advances in evolutionary biology which clearly show how genetic information accumulates and changes through evolutionary history.
To suggest that the existence of a designer is in some way the most parsimonious explanation of biological facts, and one that merits equal treatment, is plainly ridiculous.
Noble and Galloway are disingenuous when they say “C4ID is not specifically targeting schools”, particularly when they go on to say “However, it is unlikely that school students will fail to notice the debate and it is bound to be raised in schools. That teachers should simply ignore it or ban its discussion hardly reflects the best traditions of education”.
Those affiliated to C4ID are of course entitled to their views, no matter how misguided they may be on scientific grounds. What must not be allowed to happen is that the vacuous and superstitious proposal represented by Intelligent Design be permitted in Science classes. Instead, this should be dealt with in the appropriate place: the same classes which deal with other supernatural entities – religious education classes.
As a final note, the backers of C4ID should note the existence of the Wedge Strategy as promoted by their colleagues in the Discovery Institute.