by John B. Good
AS MANY OF YOU are no doubt aware, there has been an effort of late here in Ohio to shoehorn a bogus “science” known as “Intelligent Design” into science classes in our public schools. Proponents of “Intelligent Design” (henceforth referred to as “ID-iots”) claim that life is too complex to have arisen by natural means, therefore the only “logical” explanation is that it must have been purposefully designed. ID-iots claim that life as it exists today is fundamentally different from hypothetical forms that would or could have evolved naturally without intelligent intervention. They cite this “fact” as proof of their assertions, yet they canʼt, or wonʼt, say exactly how intelligently designed life differs from nondesigned life. They merely assert that it is different, which begs an obvious question that, if ID-iots possessed even a shred of intellectual honesty, should cause them no end of embarrassment. Simply put, how can they even know this let alone hope to prove it, since according to their own beliefs, they have no examples of nondesigned life to serve as a control to test their hypothesis? How can you prove that A is different from B when, according to your belief system, B doesnʼt exist? Little wonder then that ID proponents can offer no real evidence to back up their claims. They simply state that ID must be true for this and that reason and expect the rest of us to take their word for it.
Rather than providing evidential support for their own claims, they try to make their case by attacking the opposition, apparently believing that if they can somehow disprove evolution, ID wins by default. Thatʼs a sure sign that they have no valid arguments of their own to present, and itʼs not how science works. Science, real science, bases its conclusions on careful, painstakingly detailed observation and analysis of empirical evidence, not on unfounded assertions based on religious dogma and/or wishful thinking. ID, on the other hand, bases its case largely on the fallacy of “Irreducible Complexity”, that is certain features, the eye being one of their favorites, cannot have evolved naturally because any transitional “incomplete” versions would not have been functional. Half an eye, they claim, confers no evolutionary advantage upon the possessor. Thus, by ID-iot reasoning, the eye must have been intelligently designed. Never mind that we can today observe firsthand nearly every proposed stage in the evolution of the eye in modern, living organisms. Never mind that experimental data show that even a primitive “half an eye” can sense light, shadow and motion, and never mind that in a primitive world where most of the competition is still blind, this would have conferred an enormous survival advantage. ID-iots wonʼt be swayed by these facts. By and large, they arenʼt the type of folks to let the truth get in the way of their version of it. In actual fact, the eye isnʼt terribly difficult to explain in naturalistic terms. IDʼs objections are groundless. The rotating locomotor flagellum found in some microorganisms, which ID-iots also love to cite, is much more difficult to explain naturalistically than the eye. However, it has been explained, and quite thoroughly at that. Each proposed step in the development of this unique structure has been more than adequately accounted for. By and large, the idea of “Irreducible Complexity” depends on some pretty subjective interpretations, and the entire foundation crumbles when examined with a critical eye. IC is an idea based on personal conviction, not on fact, and is in no way scientific.
So there you have it. Unfounded assertions based on personal conviction and faulty reasoning, wrapped up in a pretty package of technical-sounding terms. Thatʼs “Intelligent Design” in a nutshell. It really doesnʼt matter what “mysteries” ID does claim to explain. Itʼs the points it avoids addressing that doom ID as science and expose it for what it really is. In an attempt to make their arguments seem less religious and more “scientific”, most ID-iots carefully avoid any discussion regarding the identity or nature of this “designer” they postulate, but you donʼt have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out that the “science” of “Intelligent Design” isnʼt science at all. Itʼs the same old creationist nonsense that fundamentalist Christians have been trying to force into our public schools for years. Theyʼve simply watered down or discarded some of creationismʼs more outrageous claims and given it a new pseudo-scientific spin in the hope that it wonʼt be recognized for what it is. Despite vociferous denials by its more prominent supporters, “Intelligent Design” is religion, plain and simple, and has no place in science classrooms.