Intelligent Design Philosophy Science

Claim: Intelligent design theory is a science stopper

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Cornelius Hunter takes that on:

In a debate with Michael Ruse at Oregon State University, a student in the audience asked me how one does science according to intelligent design. It is a common question. If the designer can autonomously create designs, how can one make predictions? If the natural world operates not according to a set of natural laws, but instead according to an autonomous entity, then how can science proceed? Indeed, more commonly evolutionists do not ask such questions, but rather boldly assert that under any such formulation, science becomes utterly impossible. Many such examples could be given but an op-ed article in the New York Times from evolutionist and then president of the National Academy of Sciences, Bruce Alberts, will suffice:

In evolution, as in all areas of science, our knowledge is incomplete. But the entire success of the scientific enterprise has depended on an insistence that these gaps be filled by natural explanations, logically derived from confirmable evidence. Because “intelligent design” theories are based on supernatural explanations, they can have nothing to do with science.

Science Depends on It

In other words, there is an intellectual necessity of strictly naturalistic explanation — our science depends on it. And so, it would seem that intelligent design commits the intellectual sin of being a science stopper. But as we shall see, this intellectual necessity argument reveals something very different…

Cornelius Hunter, “Is Intelligent Design a Science Stopper?” at Evolution News and Science Today (February 11, 2022)

Before we even get to Dr. Hunter’s observations and arguments, notice how much nonsense the demand for naturalism contributes to popular science media: Any day now, we are going to

  • hit on the origin of life
  • find the consciousness spot in the brain/prove there’s no consciousness
  • prove there’s no free will
  • establish that apes do SO think just like people

The fact that this promissory materialism, for which Darwinism is the origin story, is all hype and no hope never means anything. A fresh batch of media will bring up the same worn themes. And it’s as close to science as large numbers of educated mediocrities ever want to get.

You may also wish to read: Darwinian evolution and apparently suboptimal design: Cornelius Hunter points out that the most powerful arguments for schoolbook Darwinism are theological in character: What God wouldn’t do, etc. And they also apply only to alternative viewpoints, not to core Darwinism itself.

7 Replies to “Claim: Intelligent design theory is a science stopper

  1. 1
    hnorman42 says:

    Refusing to subscribe to materialism will not stop real science. Science deserves the name of science only if it works regardless of worldview.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    As to: “Is Intelligent Design a Science Stopper?”

    Far from it, the assumption of Methodological Naturalism and/or Darwinian materialism is the real ‘science stopper’. Whereas the assumption of Intelligent Design was, and is, the ‘science starter’.

    As Rodney Stark noted, “That the universe had an Intelligent Designer is the most fundamental of all scientific theories and that it has been successfully put to empirical tests again and again.”

    No False Gods Before Me: A Review of Rodney Stark’s Work by Terry Scambray (December 2018)
    Excerpt: Stark concludes, “That the universe had an Intelligent Designer is the most fundamental of all scientific theories and that it has been successfully put to empirical tests again and again. For, as Albert Einstein remarked, the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible” which Einstein called a “miracle.” And this “miracle” confirms the fact that creation is guided by purpose and reason.

    Although atheists are loathe to honestly admit it, (indeed some atheists, intentionally or not, even try to lie about it), but the fact of the matter is that Judeo-Christian presuppositions lay at the founding of modern science itself.

    Stephen Meyer, (Ph.D. in the philosophy of science from the University of Cambridge), in his recent book, “Return of the God hypothesis”, listed the three necessary Judeo-Christian presuppositions that lay at the founding of modern science in Medieval Christian Europe as such.

    “Science in its modern form arose in the Western civilization alone, among all the cultures of the world”, because only the Christian West possessed the necessary “intellectual presuppositions”.
    – Ian Barbour

    Presupposition 1: The contingency of nature
    “In 1277, the Etienne Tempier, the bishop of Paris, writing with support of Pope John XXI, condemned “necessarian theology” and 219 separate theses influenced by Greek philosophy about what God could and couldn’t do.”,,
    “The order in nature could have been otherwise (therefore) the job of the natural philosopher, (i.e. scientist), was not to ask what God must have done but (to ask) what God actually did.”

    Presupposition 2: The intelligibility of nature
    “Modern science was inspired by the conviction that the universe is the product of a rational mind who designed it to be understood and who (also) designed the human mind to understand it.” (i.e. human exceptionalism),
    “God created us in his own image so that we could share in his own thoughts”
    – Johannes Kepler

    Presupposition 3: Human Fallibility
    “Humans are vulnerable to self-deception, flights of fancy, and jumping to conclusions.”, (i.e. original sin), Scientists must therefore employ “systematic experimental methods.” (Francis Bocon’s inductive methodology)
    – Stephen Meyer on Intelligent Design and The Return of the God Hypothesis – Hoover Institution

    And these Judeo-Christian presuppositions that were necessary for the founding of modern science did not just evaporate into thin air, but these Judeo-Christian presuppositions that lay at the founding of modern science continue to be very much essential for the successful practice of modern science.

    As Paul Davies succinctly put the situation, “even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith that the universe is not absurd, that there is a rational basis to physical existence manifested as law-like order in nature that is at least partly comprehensible to us. So science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview.”

    Physics and the Mind of God: The Templeton Prize Address – by Paul Davies – August 1995
    Excerpt: “People take it for granted that the physical world is both ordered and intelligible. The underlying order in nature-the laws of physics-are simply accepted as given, as brute facts. Nobody asks where they came from; at least they do not do so in polite company. However, even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith that the universe is not absurd, that there is a rational basis to physical existence manifested as law-like order in nature that is at least partly comprehensible to us. So science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview.”

    And as Paul Davies noted elsewhere, “You couldn’t be a scientist if you thought the universe was a meaningless jumble of odds and ends haphazardly juxtaposed.”

    Taking Science on Faith – By PAUL DAVIES – NOV. 24, 2007
    Excerpt: All science proceeds on the assumption that nature is ordered in a rational and intelligible way. You couldn’t be a scientist if you thought the universe was a meaningless jumble of odds and ends haphazardly juxtaposed.
    ,,, the very notion of physical law is a theological one in the first place, a fact that makes many scientists squirm. Isaac Newton first got the idea of absolute, universal, perfect, immutable laws from the Christian doctrine that God created the world and ordered it in a rational way. Christians envisage God as upholding the natural order from beyond the universe,,,

    In short, the atheist, in the very act of him ‘doing science’, (and apparently completely unbeknownst to himself), is providing proof that the Judeo-Christian worldview must be true in some essential way, shape, or form.

    And it is not as if the assumption of Intelligent Design in science is off in a corner hiding somewhere.

    All of science, every nook and cranny of it, is bursting at the seams with ‘Intelligent Design’.

    From the essential Christian presuppositions that undergird the founding of modern science itself, (namely that the universe is contingent and rational in its foundational nature and that the minds of men, being made in the ‘image of God’, can, therefore, dare understand the rationality that God has imparted onto the universe), to the intelligent design of the scientific instruments and experiments themselves, to the logical and mathematical analysis of experimental results themselves, from top to bottom, science itself is certainly not to be considered a ‘natural’ endeavor of man.
    Not one scientific instrument would ever exist if men did not first intelligently design that scientific instrument. Not one test tube, microscope, telescope, spectroscope, or etc.. etc.., was ever found just laying around on a beach somewhere which was ‘naturally’ constructed by nature. Not one experimental result would ever be rationally analyzed since there would be no immaterial minds to rationally analyze the immaterial logic and immaterial mathematics that lay behind the intelligently designed experiments in the first place.
    Again, all of science, every nook and cranny of it, is based on the presupposition of intelligent design and is certainly not based on the presupposition of methodological naturalism.

    Moreover, falsely assuming ‘atheistic/methodological naturalism’ as one’s starting philosophical position for ‘doing science’, (instead of assuming Christian Theism, ), actually leads to the catastrophic epistemological failure of science

    Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist (who believes Darwinian evolution to be true) is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris, Coyne), who has unreliable, (i.e. illusory), beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. the illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who also must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the hopelessness of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is simply too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God (Craig, Kreeft). Who, since beauty cannot be grounded within his materialistic worldview, must also hold beauty itself to be illusory (Darwin).
    Bottom line, nothing is truly real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, beauty, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,,
    April 18, 2021 – Detailed Defense of each claim

    It would be hard to fathom a worldview more antagonistic to modern science, indeed more antagonistic to reality itself, than Atheistic materialism and/or methodological naturalism have turned out to be.

    2 Corinthians 10:5
    Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

    So again, far from intelligent design being a ‘science stopper’, the assumption of Intelligent was in fact a necessary assumption for science to even get started in the first place,.

    Whereas, on the other hand, the assumption of Methodological Naturalism and/or Darwinian materialism turns out, in the end, to drive science into catastrophic epistemological failure. i.e. Darwinian materialism is a far worse than ‘science stopper’, it is a ‘science killer’

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    That obvious fallacy has not as yet been put out of it’s misery? Did not Ruse spot the hole in his argument, that naturalism is imposing an ideological a priori driven by unscientific agendas?

  4. 4
    hnorman42 says:

    I will add something to my comment at 1. Science can support a worldview but it can only do so by producing conclusions that don’t depend on the worldview. Otherwise, arguments will be circular.

  5. 5
    jerry says:

    If the designer invented a frame work (universe and laws of physics) and within that framework invented another framework (life) and within that framework another framework (ecologies with complex species) and then a final framework (genetics) there is plenty for science to do and ID does not stop any of it.

    If so called defenders of true science wants to beg the question and say that one framework begets the other through natural means, so be it. This is the position of the theistic evolutionists. They are ID adherents but say that the universe with its laws is all the design there was.

    The other frameworks mentioned above flow from the original creation and were not invented afterwards. But they along with atheists are using a logical fallacy to justify their position. ID says that if this is the way it happened, then the designer has kept the mechanisms hidden.

    Thus, other ID adherents say there is a problem and any naturalistic mechanism proposed violates logic and evidence. Nothing stopping anyone from investigating possible mechanisms. So ID is definitely not a science stopper.

    No one can point to any field of enquiry that ID says stop. They may say such and such is a waste of time because of the begging the question nature of it but pursue it if you wish. We may get other useful results in these efforts from serendipitous findings.

  6. 6
    Moros says:

    Claim: Intelligent design theory is science stopper

    The quickest and easiest way to refute this claim is to show us a list of all the magnificent brilliant original scientific discoveries made on the basis of “Intelligent Design theory” over the past quarter century, along with citations indicating where they may be found in the science literature.

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    Can you list even one scientific discovery that was made without a ‘”intelligently designed” scientific instrument being used to make that discovery?

    Examples of scientific instruments

    Seems fairly obvious to me that if you can’t even do science in the first place without using ‘”intelligently designed” scientific instruments, then science itself can’t possibly be based upon naturalistic presuppositions.

    And indeed it isn’t. (see post 2)

    As to major discoveries in science that support Theism and/or Intelligent Design

    1. Naturalism/Materialism predicted space-time energy-matter always existed. Theism predicted space-time energy-matter were created. Big Bang cosmology now strongly indicates that time-space energy-matter had a sudden creation event approximately 14 billion years ago.

    2. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that the universe is a self sustaining system that is not dependent on anything else for its continued existence. Theism predicted that God upholds this universe in its continued existence. Breakthroughs in quantum mechanics reveal that this universe is dependent on a ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, cause for its continued existence.

    3. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that consciousness is an ‘emergent property’ of material reality and thus should have no particularly special position within material reality. Theism predicts consciousness precedes material reality and therefore, on that presupposition, consciousness should have a ‘special’ position within material reality. Quantum Mechanics reveals that consciousness has a special, even a central, position within material reality. –

    4. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the rate at which time passed was constant everywhere in the universe. Theism predicted God is eternal and is outside of time. – Special Relativity has shown that time, as we understand it, is relative and comes to a complete stop at the speed of light. (Psalm 90:4 – 2 Timothy 1:9) –

    5. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the universe did not have life in mind and that life was ultimately an accident of time and chance. Theism predicted this universe was purposely created by God with man in mind. Scientists find the universe is exquisitely fine-tuned for carbon-based life to exist in this universe. Moreover it is found, when scrutinizing the details of physics and chemistry, that not only is the universe fine-tuned for carbon based life, but is specifically fine-tuned for intelligent life like human life (R. Collins, M. Denton).-

    6. Naturalism/Materialism predicted complex life in this universe should be fairly common. Theism predicted the earth is extremely unique in this universe. Statistical analysis of the hundreds of required parameters which enable complex organic life to be possible on earth gives strong indication the earth is extremely unique in this universe (G. Gonzalez; Hugh Ross). –

    7. Naturalism/Materialism predicted it took a very long time for life to develop on earth. Theism predicted life to appear abruptly on earth after water appeared on earth (Genesis 1:10-11). Geochemical evidence from the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth indicates that complex photosynthetic life has existed on earth as long as water has been on the face of earth. –

    8. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the first life to be relatively simple. Theism predicted that God is the source for all life on earth. The simplest life ever found on Earth is far more complex than any machine man has made through concerted effort. (Michael Denton PhD) –

    9. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the gradual unfolding of life would (someday) be self-evident in the fossil record. Theism predicted complex and diverse animal life to appear abruptly in the seas in God’s fifth day of creation. The Cambrian Explosion shows a sudden appearance of many different and completely unique fossils within a very short “geologic resolution time” in the Cambrian seas. –

    10. Naturalism/Materialism predicted there should be numerous transitional fossils found in the fossil record, Theism predicted sudden appearance and rapid diversity within different kinds found in the fossil record. Fossils are consistently characterized by sudden appearance of a group/kind in the fossil record(disparity), then rapid diversity within that group/kind, and then long term stability and even deterioration of variety within the overall group/kind, and within the specific species of the kind, over long periods of time. Of the few dozen or so fossils claimed as transitional, not one is uncontested as a true example of transition between major animal forms out of millions of collected fossils. –

    11. Naturalism/Materialism predicted animal speciation should happen on a somewhat constant basis on earth. Theism predicted man was the last species created on earth – Man (our genus ‘modern homo’ as distinct from the highly controversial ‘early homo’) is the last generally accepted major fossil form to have suddenly appeared in the fossil record. (Tattersall; Luskin)–

    12. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that the separation of human intelligence from animal intelligence ‘is one of degree and not of kind’ (C. Darwin). Theism predicted that we are made in the ‘image of God’- Despite an ‘explosion of research’ in this area over the last four decades, human beings alone are found to ‘mentally dissect the world into a multitude of discrete symbols, and combine and recombine those symbols in their minds to produce hypotheses of alternative possibilities.’ (Tattersall; Schwartz). Moreover, both biological life and the universe itself are found to be ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis.

    13. Naturalism/Materialism predicted much of the DNA code was junk. Theism predicted we are fearfully and wonderfully made – ENCODE research into the DNA has revealed a “biological jungle deeper, denser, and more difficult to penetrate than anyone imagined.”. –

    14. Naturalism/Materialism predicted a extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA which was ultimately responsible for all the diversity and complexity of life we see on earth. Theism predicted only God created life on earth – The mutation rate to DNA is overwhelmingly detrimental. Detrimental to such a point that it is seriously questioned whether there are any truly beneficial, information building, mutations whatsoever. (M. Behe; JC Sanford) –

    15. Naturalism/Materialism predicted morality is subjective and illusory. Theism predicted morality is objective and real. Morality is found to be deeply embedded in the genetic responses of humans. As well, morality is found to be deeply embedded in the structure of the universe. Embedded to the point of eliciting physiological responses in humans before humans become aware of the morally troubling situation and even prior to the event even happening.

    16. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that we are merely our material bodies with no transcendent component to our being, and that we die when our material bodies die. Theism predicted that we have minds/souls that are transcendent of our bodies that live past the death of our material bodies. Transcendent, and ‘conserved’, (cannot be created or destroyed), ‘non-local’, (beyond space-time matter-energy), quantum entanglement/information, which is not reducible to matter-energy space-time, is now found in our material bodies on a massive scale (in every DNA and protein molecule).

    As you can see when we remove the artificial imposition of the materialistic philosophy (methodological naturalism), from the scientific method, and look carefully at the predictions of both the materialistic philosophy and the Theistic philosophy, side by side, we find the scientific method is very good at pointing us in the direction of Theism as the true explanation. – In fact modern science is even very good at pointing us to Christianity as the solution to the much sought after ‘theory of everything’

    Jesus Christ as the correct “Theory of Everything” – video–eE


    1 Thessalonians 5:21
    but test all things. Hold fast to the good.

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