Although I accept ID, I actually think there are respectable reasons to reject or at least withhold judgment on ID in biology. I am writing this essay because I expect I’ll refer to it in the future since I will frequently grant that a critic of ID might be quite reasonable in not embracing ID.
Unlike some of my ID colleagues, I do not think rejection or non-acceptance of ID is an unrespectable position. It may not be obvious, but several revered “ID proponents” either currently or in the past said they are not convinced ID is true. Foremost would probably be David Berlinski. Next is Michael Denton, and next is Richard Sternberg. I do not know for a fact what they believe now, but statements they’ve made in the past have led me to conclude although they are obviously sympathetic to ID, they had not accepted it at the time of their writings. One might even put Robert Jastrow and Paul Davies in the list of “ID proponents” who actually reject ID.
GOOD REASONS TO REJECT ID
1. Absence of a Designer. I know I might get flak for this, but I think a good reason to reject ID is the absence of seeing the Intelligent Designer in operation today. With many scientific theories we can see the hypothesized mechanism in action, and this is quite reassuring to the hypothesis. For myself, I wrestle with the fact that even if ID is true, the mechanism might be forever inaccessible to us.
2. Lack of direct experiments. A designer may decide never to design again. That is consistent with how intelligent agents act. So even if the Designer is real, even if we’ve encountered Him once personally in our lives, the fact is we can’t construct experiments and demand He give us a demonstration.
3. Belief that some future mechanism might be discovered. This is always a possibility in principle.
BAD REASONS TO REJECT ID
1. Theology! There are some Christian theologians who believe in eternal life, the resurrection of the dead, the resurrection of Christ, but believe God wouldn’t design life based on whatever theological viewpoint they have such as their interpretations of the writings of Thomas Aquinas. I put this at the top of the list of bad reasons to reject ID.
2. “God wouldn’t do it that way”. This is also a theological argument, but is so prevalent its in a class of its own. How would any know God wouldn’t do it that way!
3. Bad design. See my take in The Shallowness of Bad Design Arguments.
4. Common Descent. Common descent is incompatible with Creationism but not ID.
5. Darwinian evolution. Darwinian evolution doesn’t solve the origin of life problem, and thus Dawkins over extends his claim that Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist. Darwinian evolution also has been refuted theoretically and empirically, but not everyone has caught on.
6. ID was invented to get creationism into public schools and is part of a right wing conspiracy to create a theocracy, and ID proponents are scoundrels and liars. These claims are false, but even if true, they are completely irrelevant to the truth or falsehood of ID in biology. I posted on the irrelevance of ID proponents being scoundrels. See: Scoundrel? Scoundrel?…I like the sound of that.
7. ID demeans God by making God responsible for bad designs. Denyse O’Leary deals with this one here: Here’s one bad reason for opposing ID.
I invite UD commenters to offer their own list of good and bad reasons to reject ID. This list is certainly not exhaustive, or correct, just my opinions.