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Science and Intelligent Design
By Norbert M. Samuelson

The purpose of this paper is to examine some specifically philosophical questions about the current debate in selected North American public schools about including what is commonly called “intelligent design” (ID) as part of the schools’ official science curriculum. The issues I will raise focus around two broad questions: First, what is the logical status of the arguments for and against ID? Second, may the arguments presented for ID be considered “scientific”? My analysis will be grounded in two related but nonetheless distinct disciplines of intellectual history – the history of western philosophy and the history of modern western European science. Based on my historical analysis I will suggest some tentative answers to the two questions.


"Behe assumes that modern science, including biology, is committed to an atomic cosmology in which all connections are contingent, and he is driven from that assumption, in the light of the evidence of the phenomena of organic life, to conclude that there is design in the natural world. Conversely, Dawkins assumes that modern science, especially biology, is committed to a mechanical (here meaning non-teleological) cosmology and in the light of the same kind of evidence of organic life is forced to conclude that there exists in physical reality causal principles such as natural selection. For Behe the defining feature of modern science is its commitment to material atomism, and for Dawkins the defining feature of modern science is its commitment to mechanistic explanations. We reached three general conclusions. First, that both the Dawkins and the Behe arguments are simply applications to biology from philosophical arguments from design, either for (in Behe’s case) or against (in Dawkins’ case) the existence of God. Two, all forms of arguments from design, both in the past as well as in the present, function as rhetorical means of persuasion and should never be confused with logical forms for demonstration. Third, at the heart of the dispute between Dawkins and Behe is confusion about the nature of modern science." Who is right? Or are they both wrong? I havn't been able to determine the conclusions of the second part of the essay on the real nature of science. Can anyone help? idnet.com.au

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