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.