Failure of intelligent design
Failure of intelligent design
Is ID meeting it's maker?
The wedge project (of the Center for Science and Culture) set specific goals for intelligent design (ID). It has met publicity goals, but scientific goals are another story. Academic and technical articles may satisfy the goal of "one hundred scientific, academic and technical articles by our fellows", but ID hasn't penetrated scientific literature, with one controversial exception. Doubts about Darwin (Thomas Woodward) illustrates why it hasn't. Intelligent design is a rhetorical movement, not a scientific movement. It's based on rationalizing and promotion, not hypothesis and experimentation. Doubts about Darwin describes the desire to make intelligent design a central scientific paradigm. Woodward describes, however, a rhetorical paradigm; it suffices as doctrine, but lacks the predictive power of a legitimate scientific paradigm. Unlike science which starts with evidence and draws conclusions, intelligent design starts with a conclusion and is still searching for the evidence.
More on the failure of ID
Jackets of intelligent design books feature blurbs by prominent ID supporters. ID conferences feature Discovery Institute (DI) fellows and occasional invited scientists. DI fellows occasionally present at scientific meetings, but rarely speak to working scientists. More recently the DI has retreated to presenting only to fundamentalist religious audiences. ID literature likewise circulates within the closed circle and contains little of interest to scientists.
ID appeals to religious fundamentalists and those who innately dislike evolution. A few bible colleges have adopted ID, but no academic universities.
The wedge aspired to standing in public science education. To this end the DI lobbied state and local school boards. So far states have resisted, but the local school board in Dover PA had a brief love affair with ID. The DI backed off and promoted "teaching the controversy" or "critical analysis" implying that evolution is scientifically controversial. Ohio adopted a curriculum which incorporates this notion. The Dover version of intelligent design didn't survive legal challenge and intelligent design supporters have been ousted from the Ohio Board of Education.
The DI's bete noir is "naturalism", which it conflates with materialism and determinism. Few scientists are strict determinists and most scientists are not materialists, at least in terms of valuing "goods". Naturalism, as opposed to supernaturalism, is a cornerstone of science and will remain so until another system makes testable predictions.
The DI takes pains to distance itself from the "wedge document" which was apparently intended for internal consumption. DI fellows deny that ID is creationism. This claim is clearly a "fallacy of composition". The two are sufficiently similar so that the Foundation for Thought and Ethics could substitute "intelligent design" for "creationism" word for word. DI fellows pretend that the phrase "cdesign proponentsists" never existed. Intelligent design appeals to Christian fundamentalists, but not to scientists. DI fellows are driven not by scientific curiosity, but by religious orthodoxy and/or hostility to science.