Intelligent Design Lacks Scientific Validity

It took them almost two weeks and they managed to truncate the headline given to it on their website, but The Exponent finally got around today to publishing the letter I sent them last Tuesday, in response to a previous letter complaining that last month’s article on evolution versus intelligent design was biased.

Here’s the letter I wrote:

In his letter published on Nov. 8 (“Intelligent design story shows obvious bias”), Andrew Buesking criticizes a recent Exponent story mentioning Intelligent Design, claiming the story fails “to present an adequate understanding of the evidence supporting Intelligent Design” and does not “recognize the largely scientific component of the movement.” Mr. Buesking is mistaken, as there is no error on the Exponent’s part: Intelligent Design is devoid of supporting evidence, is scientifically vacuous and is at its heart a fundamentalist attack against science itself.

Intelligent Design proponents offer no scientific arguments that support their conjecture of a supernatural intelligence that created species in their current form. When asked during the Kitzmiller trial what constitutes evidence of being designed, ID apologist Michael Behe could only offer that we “know” something was designed because it looks designed. Circular arguments and appeals to supernatural forces are untestable and unfalsifiable and thus are not scientific. Behe even acknowledged that in order to classify ID as science, it would be necessary to loosen the definition of “science” so far as to include astrology!

The only testable claims that ID proponents do offer are solely negative arguments against evolution, and these claims have long since been refuted. For example, Behe cites the bacterial flagellum and the blood-clotting pathway as “irreducibly complex.” However, experiments have demonstrated that these features can develop and have developed through natural selection.

Finally, ID supporters are very much motivated by religion, not science. It is no coincidence that the Discovery Institute’s infamous Wedge Document borrowed the fundamentalist image of a wedge (ID) being driven into the trunk (evolution) of a tree (science itself), or that early drafts of “Of Pandas and People” originally used the term “creationism” instead of “Intelligent Design.” I certainly wouldn’t call that a movement with a “largely scientific component.”

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