Saturday, June 04, 2005

Intelligent Design

Mustafa Akyol writes a clear answer to an attack on the idea of Intelligent Design Intelligent Decline, Revisited. He is gracious in his response to a sneering attack by Robert McHenry in his piece Intelligent Decline.

I'll return to this subject to discuss Robert McHenry's viewpoint, a viewpoint held by many. In this post I would like to use Mustafa Akyol's piece to introduce ID.
Before commencing, however, perhaps I should say that I acknowledge and respect the intention of Mr. McHenry. His concern seems to be with keeping science separate from religion, and that is fully justified -- mixing the two has resulted in pretty unpleasant episodes in history. Yet we, the "IDers" as they call us, are not trying to merge faith into science. What we are trying to do is actually rescue science from a monopoly of a secular faith called materialism, whose application to biology is called Darwinism.

In a nutshell, Intelligent Design is the theory that argues life on Earth is the product of natural laws, chance and intelligence. Darwinism, on the other hand, accepts only the first two causes, because, according to materialist philosophy, intelligence does not exist unless it evolves over time from mindless matter.
Proponents of ID are always (and I do NOT mean almost always) criticized as trying to sell a warmed over version of Creationism and, by not actually mentioning God, trying to inject religion into schools. Mustafa Akyol answers a particularly nasty version of this nicely;
Many critics of ID wrongly assume that we infer that intelligence from the Bible or the Koran, but in fact we infer it solely from nature. As Mount Rushmore compels an observer to conclude that an intelligent cause was at work there, the "specified complexity" of life points to an intelligent designer.

The identity or purpose of that designer can't be inferred from the evidence. That's why ID theory is silent on this subject, although we ID proponents might have personal opinions based on our philosophical or religious convictions. And that's why Mr. McHenry misses the point when he argues that we "have trained [ourselves] not to be too specific about the Designer" and we "carefully avoid" speaking about God for political purposes. The fact is that we just don't mix science and religion.
An infinite number of monkees locked in a room with a typewriter for an infinite period of time will still not produce a copy of Hamlet.

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