Intelligent Design provides an excellent example of what defines science and the importance of different domains of knowledge staying within their domain of knowledge (see the healthymemory blog posts “Domains of Knowledge,” and “A Longstanding heated Debate That Can Easily Be Resolved”). Advocates of intelligent design point to all the wonders of nature and conclude, how could such things emerge without an intelligent designer, who is God. What they fail to acknowledge are all the extinct species that didn’t survive. When they are considered, some sort of random selection process is needed. Or, as the humorist Tony Kornheiser noted when he was simultaneously suffering from nausea and diarrhea, “what a perverse sense of humor God had when he designed the human body.” For intelligent design to be a science, there must be a means of disproving intelligent design. Absent that, it is no science.
Actually religious people would be better off arguing the anthropic principle. The conditions under which the universe was created were quite specific and absent these specific values of critical factors, it could not be created. Apparently few religious people have the knowledge of physics or cosmology to make this argument.
Intelligent Design provides a good example of why different domains of knowledge need to stay in their appropriate domains. People are entitled to whatever beliefs they may hold, except when their beliefs have adverse effects on other domains of knowledge and on their fellow human beings. Actually HM is in favor of teaching both intelligent design and evolution in the public schools, as that shows, unless improperly taught, the essence of science. Evolution should not be taught as a dogma, but as a finding from science and an example of how science is done. Students should be taught how to think rather than what to believe. Absent evolution, biology and medicine, at the very least, would be severely constrained.
James Flynn, the author of “How to Improve Your Mind: Twenty Keys to Unlock the Modern World,”makes the following interesting observation, “Obscurantist churches talk about “intelligent design” as an alternative science, and some university lecturers say, “reality is a text.” The latter have less excuse for talking nonsense. The universities are fields on which a great battle rages. It is a contest pitting those who attempt to help students understand science, and how to use reason to debate moral and social issues, against those of whom it might be said that every student who comes within range of their voices is a bit worse off for the experience. It is up to the rest of us to point out the error of their ways, so that students can think clearly enough to filter their words and distal something of value.”
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