Eugenie Scott: The Big Tent and the Camel's Nose

In Is Intelligent Design Testable: A response to Eugenie Scott Dembski tries to defend ID against the observation that ID does not present any testable hypotheses. Eugenie Scott responded to Dembski in The Big Tent and the Camel’s Nose

Eugenie Scott wrote:

In my talk, I wasn’t deploring the untestability of ID per se but the fact that its proponents don’t present testable models. I was referring to the fact that ID proponents don’t present a model at allin the sense of saying what happened when. At least YEC presents a view of “what happens”: the universe appeared within thousands of years ago, at one time, in its present form, living things are descended from specially created “kinds” from which they have not varied except in trivial ways, there was a universal flood that produced the modern geological features, and humans are specially created apart from all other forms. So what happened in the ID model?

If ID is interested in ‘teaching the controversy’ and informing students about good science, then why is it that ID activists have so far refused to take much of any stance on the ‘scientific’ claims by the young earth creationists?

Eugenie ends with the following observation and question

Eugenie Scott wrote:

Now, maybe Dembski or other ID proponents will tell me that they are not trying to influence the K-12 curriculum, that they are merely trying to build a scholarly movement at the university or intellectual level, trusting that eventually ID will be validated and like other intellectual movements, it will trickle down to the K-12 level. If Dembski had attended my talk, he would have heard me advocate exactly this strategy. I don’t think ID will enter the academic mainstream, but if it does, then obviously it will eventually be taught in high school. But I don’t think ID proponents are willing to wait until they get this validation: Jonathan Wells, whose book provides disclaimers to be copied and placed in K-12 textbooks, is obviously concerned primarily with the K-12 curriculum; Philip Johnson’s Defeating Darwinism is explicitly aimed at high school students; and CRSC¹s Steven Meyer is an author of a substantial “Afterward” to teachers in the ID high school textbook, Of Pandas and People. Bruce Gordon, presently interim director of The Baylor Science and Religion Project, has correctly noted: ID “has been prematurely drawn into discussions of public science education, where it has no business making an appearance without broad recognition from the scientific community that it is making a worthwhile contribution to our understanding of the natural world” (Gordon, 2001).

So, what happened, Bill? Will you go beyond “evolution is bad science” to give us an actual model of what happened? (PvM: Emphasis added)

Dembski made his position clear when he stated that

Dembski wrote:

As for your example, I’m not going to take the bait. You’re asking me to play a game: “Provide as much detail in terms of possible causal mechanisms for your ID position as I do for my Darwinian position.” ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories. If ID is correct and an intelligence is responsible and indispensable for certain structures, then it makes no sense to try to ape your method of connecting the dots. True, there may be dots to be connected. But there may also be fundamental discontinuities, and with IC systems that is what ID is discovering.”

Dembski on ISCID